The War Inside by M. Kircher
The end of the world is only just the beginning. So eighteen-year-old Thea discovers when her solitary life on a dying Earth is shattered by a mysterious dream, a devastating choice, and a strange gift that propels her on a journey towards the restoration of all mankind.
Thea is bitter and alone; a perfect embodiment of the sunless, cloud-covered Earth she inhabits. A terrifying dream convinces her to save the life of an injured girl, and despite her misgivings, Thea decides to rescue sixteen-year old Viviana. She soon learns that gentle Viv has a life-threatening infection, as well as a freakish patch of glowing skin over her heart. When this light spreads to Thea, she is forced to trust Caden, an arrogant, lazy, and annoyingly handsome boy she despises. Caden has a map to the last city on Earth, and the only place that might have a cure for both Viv’s infection and the strange light on Thea’s hands. As the trio embark on a journey through the barren wilderness, Thea and Caden try to fight their mounting attraction and discover that the light is not a curse, but a powerful gift meant to heal the polluted Earth and reconnect the remnants of humanity. What they don't know is that deadly shadows watch them, waiting for the chance to make sure that humans stay in the darkness forever.
Don't miss THE WAR INSIDE, an exciting young adult dystopian/fantasy novel by debut author M. Kircher.
Her world, though, it's so incredible. Talk about some high class world building. That's one thing that I normally find myself complaining about in the fantasy or dystopian novels I read because it's so dang important. A novel may have an incredible story, but sometimes the author is so caught up in telling it that she forgets to show me the culture. Reading a book that's set anywhere that isn't present day Earth requires some intense description, and if it's not there, it may not matter how good the story is because I just can't see it.
Luckily, I had absolutely no concern for that in The War Inside because M. Kircher kicks some serious butt when it comes to making me see things that aren't really there. As embarrassing as it is to admit this, for a few days after I finished reading the book, I kept on expecting to see the shadow creatures popping out at me everywhere. To be fair, Halloween had just been a month earlier. Not that it really soothes my bruised ego to say that. Wait a minute, why am I even telling you this?
The point is that I saw what Thea's home had become. I felt like I understood what it was like to live under the Canopy and in the world that the darkness had created. In my own life, the closest I've ever come to what Thea and her friends experienced is walking through the fog, but even then I know that I'll see the sun again soon. They never had and thought that they never would be able to do that, which is something I've never had to experience for myself. Yet somehow I did when reading this book. I knew what it was like to live under the Canopy because I was living it alongside everyone else in the novel.
Another thing that I was really impressed with was the development I saw in the characters, especially Thea. The type of person she was at the beginning of the novel was so incredibly different from who she turned out to be in the end, yet I believed it the whole time. Not once did I think that she was doing something completely wrong for her character because the transitions were utterly seamless.
Overall, I really only have one complaint. I really liked the characters (yes, even Caden), I obviously loved the setting, and I thought that the story was really interesting, but I did have one problem: the light. Now, don't get me wrong here because I did love that piece of the story, but some parts of it I just wasn't able to swallow. (Bear with me now because I'm about to get really vague for the sake of those who haven't read the novel yet.) I really liked everything that the light was able to do, but how it developed in people felt a little strange to me. The idea behind it is sweet and all, but I never seemed to find any real explanation for it. Yeah, it's got to do with the change inside the person, but why does that change translate into the light? And why did we never see it before the Canopy? What caused it to happen for the very first time in Viv?
This book is only the first in a series, so I have pretty strong hopes that some of those questions will be cleared up in later books. I haven't really heard much on the sequel front yet, but I certainly trust in M. to come up with something that's just as incredible as her first!