Gifted son of legendary heroic parents; a real world where ordinary people coexist with magically-gifted people called the Talented; a renowned school dedicated to the training of such magic users; a real-life nobody turns out to be the deciding figure of the world's equilibrium, the Phoenix Line.
At first glance, Ekaterina Yuvasheva's "I Am Angelo" is so readily reminiscent of J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter franchise that you might mistake the title for "I Am Potter". A closer look might even confirm your first impression. However, Angelo stands out in quite a different way to Harry Potter.
Given that the author is a Russian immigrant to the U.S., I think that the story could be interpreted as a metaphorical narration of a teenage immigrant's growth and integration into a once repelling world during his/her quest for identity.
Thanks to the first-person narrative, the author has breathed life into the namesake protagonist through delicate, though sometimes redundant psychological depictions.
Unfortunately the combined effect of such a slow and steady pace and the lack of impact and power in conflict or fighting scenes renders the book somewhat insipid and devoid of incentive climaxes. 1
"Sense of Direction" is obviously the overture to a series of Angelo's adventures. While it might be the beginning of what might be hailed as another classic fantasy series, a more polished writing style and some innovative features to distinguish Angelo from Potter will be needed in later episodes to help the series establish its own identity.
Mr. Rigel's comment on life in the early part of the novel: "Expectations aren't what life is made of. Decisions are. So this is up to you", serves potential readers well.
1 My preference for "incentive climaxes" over the common and more proper expression "dramatic climaxes" is deliberate and context-specific. While the story harbors some suspense and mystery, the story telling lacks powerful impression. As a result, despite all expectations and curiosity kindled, the reader did not get true climaxes as incentive for reading.
About the book's Author
Ekaterina Yuvasheva was born in Rostov, Russia a few years before the fall of the Soviet Union. A bookish kid, she let her imagination run wild, which became an important part of understanding the world around her. At fifteen, her family moved to America where she graduated college, then Temple University Pharmacy school and become a Pharmacist. Many aspects of the story -- from her character's loneliness and opportunities at the School to his choice of a Healer career -- are drawn from experience.
- She is also in the process of writing articles for Magic City Morning star and has published the first one already. It is titled: An Immigrant's First Impression
I Am Angelo: Sense of Direction
Published WestBowPress (4 Feb 2013)