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Surviving Serendipity

by Jacquelyn Sylvan

      When I chose Jacquelyn Sylvan's debut novel, Surviving Serendipity, for review, I was intrigued by the concept of a modern young woman finding herself transported to another world and finding she was a royal heir and had an arduous task laid out for her before she took the throne. However, I wondered if perhaps the book wasn't my cup of tea when I began its first pages and delved into the life of 21-year-old June out on the town to drink herself into a stupor on her birthday. I wasn't sure I even liked June; but from chapter two onward when June finds herself in Prendawr and in the company of four blue Valforte warriors and a strange sorcerer, I knew I was hooked. June, I discovered, had remarkably admirable qualities and proved herself very noble from the beginning, even when she struggled with being removed from a world and a life she found she loved very much and tossed into a very unforgiving alien one. †Soon, June and her companions are on a quest to find three pieces of an ancient tablet that will tell her how to save the world. But not all is as it seems in this new world.

Like any skilled author, Sylvan has created a new world and refreshing new characters like the Valforte and a beast called a draek that's a cross between a wolf and something else. Though there are other familiar beings (fairies, aliens, dragons), they are cast in a much different light than others have done. The landscape and the vegetation is also different, and so is the food, and many of June's growing abilities as she discovers that being a royal also means she's a sorceress.

Surviving Serendipity is adventure in its grandest sense. The quest is noble, the characters are complex, the cultures are varied and interesting, and the villains are devious enough to present delicious challenges for the questers. This is a thrilling, most marvelous read! It is hoped that Jacquelyn Sylvan will continue to bring readers other adventures. She has talent and has something to say, especially about social issues that exist in our own world and in June's new one.

Since this book deals with adult behaviors (drinking, swearing, and sex), I would recommend it for more mature teen readers and adults.

The Book

Echelon Press
January 31, 2008
ARC of trade paperback
1590805860 / 978-1590805862
YA / Adult Fiction, Fantasy
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The Reviewer

Janie Franz
Reviewed 2009
NOTE: Reviewer Janie Franz is the author of Freelance Writing: Itís a Business, Stupid!and co-author of The Ultimate Wedding Reception Book and The Ultimate Wedding Ceremony Book.
© 2009