Nolander by Becca Mills - Review by Intisar

on Dec 3, 2013

Rating: 4.5 / 5
Genre: Paranormal Fantasy


Amateur photographer Beth Ryder is in trouble. She's taking pictures of things she can't see, things that aren't human. Beth has her own dreams, but people like her don't get to go free. She's seized by a dangerous organization dedicated to keeping Earth's shadow world -- and its frightening inhabitants -- a secret. Forced into otherworldly politics and uncertain whom to trust, Beth must come to terms with a radically altered future -- one in which her own humanity seems to be draining away.

The Emanations Series

Of all the beings that have lived on Earth, what if just a few had the power to make new realities, according to their desires? What would they create? The Second Emanation: a shadow world where ancient creatures persist, where humanity's dominance is far less certain, where wonder competes with horror. A world like an autumn forest, its realities as multiple and layered as fallen leaves. The world that gives us our gods.

In Becca Mills's Emanations series, this strange and magical world crosses paths with a seemingly ordinary young woman from the American Midwest. It'll never be the same again.

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A fast moving and well paced story of a young woman who discovers she's more paranormal than normal...not the most unique premise, but I loved a few things about this story:

(a) The heroine. The heroine begins the story with panic disorder. I've never really understood what it might be like to have such a disorder, and it was both eye-opening and very clear that Ms. Mills has done a very good job researching this. Even better, as the story progresses so does character development.

(b) The romantic element. Guess what? It's not overpowering, and the first man, or two, that you meet after discovering all is not right in the world, is not necessarily your soul mate.

(c) The paranormal element. It's a new take on demons, and I've yet to meet any angels. I liked it a lot. (Maybe I'm tired of angels, but then, I'm also tired of demons, so it's saying something that I enjoyed this.)

(d) The writing itself is strong, fluid, and just descriptive enough. The only reason I dropped this story down half a point was because of the "Ghosteater" passages. They're from the perspective of "Ghosteater" but not--they're actually first person from our heroine's perspective, and it was just awkward and very odd to me that she could be inside Ghosteater's head, know everything he's thinking as strange as it might be to humans, and yet not (by the end of the book) reveal some sort of psychic connection with him. Really, though, the first person interjections in these passages just read awkwardly, and it felt like a misfiring of craft.

Overall, an enjoyable and adrenaline-packed ride. Recommended for readers of paranormal fantasy, epic fantasy, and demon-fans.

Note this is a new-adult read, not my typical YA fare. :)

About the Author

Becca Mills is an over-educated, under-exercised lover of good coffee, science, and fast cars. And books. Oh yes. She believes the world can be a rough place and that everyone deserves to leave it behind now and then. That pretty much makes books a human right, no?

Becca is currently completing Book 2 of the Emanations series. When not novelizing, she spends quite a bit of time on her "day job" as a college professor teaching literature and writing.


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