THE HIGHLY CAPABLE
What would you do if you could control objects with your mind?
Would you be able to choose between right and wrong?
Eighteen-year-old Ruby Dawson was born with the powers to move things
with her mind. She thought she was the only one of her kind until she
met Tristan-a self-destructive drug addict and a crew of super-powered
thieves. Working in the shadows, the crew follows their fire conjuring
leader, Madison, as they descend further and further into the world of
Ruby finds herself in a whirlwind of wrong decisions, lies, murder, and
realizations she isn’t ready to face. As Ruby watches Tristan disappear
further into his drug addiction and her team fight for more money and
territory, she struggles with who she has become. Can Ruby walk away
from the closest thing she has to a family and be the hero she is
actually meant to be?
The Highly Capable- Volume One of the Ruby Dawson Saga, an urban
fantasy, is a tormenting and emotional tale of self-discovery.
When I was younger, I could barely read a book without some sort of love story involved. I would zoom through plot to get to the parts where the heroine and hero would finally reveal their love for each other, finally realize they were soul mates. The soul mate principle, as explored by many authors with various theories and ideas within the context of YA lit, was a passion. At night, I would wish to the world that I would find my truest love. My teen years were filled with the idea that some day I would find that person who would defy death for even me. I'll never forget in middle school we were reading some love story, and our teacher asked us to pen an answer to the question, "Is love worth dying for?" This was a time when Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves was my newest and favorite-st movie and Bryan Adam's "Everything I do, I do it for you," made my heart fill so much I felt it would burst. Yes! I fervishly wrote my answer, love is worth dying for!
You think you'll never change, your beliefs will always be the same. That your passionate believe in something so true will last forever. Then, suddenly you're in your thirties, much wiser, and you laugh a little at your silly younger self, all the while feeling guilty for letting that idealistic, naive girl down.
When did I stop believing in the "soul mate"? While I'm not sure, it could be when I met my husband—my life mate, which I believe to be based on something much stronger. And yet, while my reading tastes have broadened through the years and my love of plot is evident in my own writing and thought processes, I still embrace the love stories—fantasy, contemporary lit, chick lit, YA—whatever the genre. I will never understand the hate-on of the "insta-love" in books, because to me it's escape, fantasy, idealized versions of love, cosmic connections, and allowing yourself to believe that the worst thing that could tear you from your soul mate is some apocalyptic war that will ultimately be stopped in the end. The belief that goodness prevails and happiness can be found. Love is love, and I'm all in.
YA love stories allows those of who are older to relive that passion, and even though many would scoff at the "insta-love" connections, instant attraction and connections happen every day—in real life. YA love stories are often truly reflective of the big emotions of youth and a breakup can seem like the world is ending, that true love has been thwarted. But trust me, it hasn't.
While I'm reflective on the wisdom that has come from age and experience, some beliefs may have shifted, yet they remain the same. I do believe in true love. I see it every day in the face of my son. I do believe in spending the rest of your life with someone. My husband and I have laughter and new adventures planned for our silver years. I do believe in dying for love, not in the jump-off-a-bridge-because-I-got-dumped, which is ridiculous and even as a teen I had better presence of mind. But I would put myself in harm's way if the people I love were in danger, as would many people. #mamabear
The truth is, I will always be a sucker for a good love story, whether it's realistic or riddled in fantasy, in life and in the pages of stories. After all, great love between lovers, family, and friends is what life is truly about. That's why reading is so magical, because for a short time we find new adventures and characters to love, ones that can help us find insights within ourselves or provide a relaxing or stimulating escape from reality.
“Where there is love there is life.”
― Mahatma Gandhi
Don't miss the Valentine's Day-themed episode of the Quirky Book Sirens, where we'll talk about what makes a good love story in literature. Feel free to chime in with any suggestions!
This was one of those books that makes you sigh in sadness when it's over, at least for me it was. In Holly Black's The Darkest Part of the Forest, brother and sister, Hazel and Ben, live in a town where the Fae folk and the human world co-exist, if not all together peacefully. And there's one Fae that both Hazel and Ben have long-been telling stories about since they were children—the horned boy who lays asleep in a glass case in the woods. They've told him secrets and wished deeply for him to awake since as long as they can remember. Then one day he does. Subsequently, the darkness of Fae world comes crashing in on their town and the task of saving it lands on Hazel and Ben, both of which have their share of secrets.
Black weaves magic into atmospheric scenes, while creating a wonderful mystery that had me turning page after page. While there was romance in the book, it didn't overtake the story, but it was still delicious. I would have even liked a little more, but I still felt satisfied at the end. Speaking of the end, I think it's probably the writer in me, but I am a huge fan of coming full circle, and Black did just that. It was crafted in such a way that I felt a sense of completeness. While the book stands on its own, I could see her creating another based on the world and characters. I would love it if she did.
I loved Jack, a changeling who has grown up in a human family and is Ben's best friend, and Hazel was a well-written, complex character. The history behind Hazel and Ben's wild days as children roaming Fae-infested woods was well brewed. If you're a fan of YA and stories about fairies, then you should check this book out. Fae lore is threaded throughout the story, lending true mystical darkness to the overall theme.
You can get it on Amazon for $8.99 in Kindle or $8.11 in paperback.
K.M. Randall writes fantasy and paranormal for both a general and young adult audience. Her debut novel, an epic fantasy called Fractured Dream, launched in June 2014, and her second book, The Reaper's Daughter, launched May 2015. Randall also published Fairytale Lost, a prequel to Fractured Dream, as an exclusive on Wattpad. She blogs about dreams, female heroines, and activism and its relevancy to the literary and fictional world. And when in the season, sometimes she just likes to talk about Halloween. She is currently hard at work on the second book in the Dreamer Saga series, Shattered World.