The first time it happened, Lali Yavari told herself it was just a dream. But when she starts flashing between realities during the day and seeing people disappear before her very eyes, she can't deny that something is happening to her - something she's sure is linked to her mother's disappearance.
Then the unsettling Kai Awana shows up at school, and Lali discovers she has inherited her mother's ability to astral project - with a surprising twist. Not only that, but Kai needs her help to get to a world she never knew existed. In exchange, Kai promises to help Lali find her mom using his own unique ability.
Now Lali must learn to control her budding power if she ever hopes to see her mother again. She's not sure she can trust Kai, but with her mother's life hanging in the balance, will she have a choice?
©2015 K.J. McPike (P)2015 K.J. McPike
"Debut author McPike crosses large family dynamics with tightly conceived superpowers to maximum effect. McPike succeeds in telling an emotionally jagged tale while setting up the rest of the series.... An intriguing story driven equally by plot, characters, and angst." (Kirkus Reviews)
Sci-fi, Fantasy, Mystery, Adventure, and YA Novels. If it weren't for physics, law enforcement, and my medication, I'd be unstoppable!
The Young Adult genre is becoming especially popular, especially the sci-fi/fantasy types. However, this book seemed to put an interesting twist and storyline to the nearly fill-in-the-blank YA framework that every book seems to follow.
A teenage girl named Lali and her family are still in disarray after the sudden disappearance of their mother. There are too many unanswered questions and too many things don't make sense. And that's not the only strange thing that is happening. Lali is beginning to discover an ability she didn't know she had... Or is it just a dream? All the research she does points to Astral Projection. Is that the ability she has? Is it real? Could the stories her mother told her as a child have something to do with this ability? Could she astral project as well? If so, does it have something to do with her sudden abandonment of her family?
Some answers come in the form of a new friend and his uncle. He has abilities of his own, though different from hers. Not only that, but he is also missing a loved one. Will they find their missing family if they work together? Are he and his uncle everything they claim to be?
As I said, I thought the author was very creative with the supernatural abilities she created for the story, and that this was a refreshing twist on the predictable framework YA novels we are seeing on the bookshelves.
The narration was solid and good enough to earn 5 stars.
Those who like YA novels and/or stories with supernatural abilities will almost certainly like this book.
I received a free copy of this audiobook from the author, publisher, or narrator in exchange for an unbiased review. I was NOT required to write a positive review and this reflects my honest opinion of the work.
XODUS is not the type of book I would normally be interested in, but it turned out to be a pleasant surprise. From the start of the story, I could tell the main characters were well thought out and developed. The book lives more in the fantasy realm than hard sci/fi, being set in current times and having a unique take on astral projection and astral energy.
The plotting is tight, the dialog is snappy, and the story moves along at a brisk pace. The world that McPike has imagined has been carefully crafted, with unexpected twists and turns throughout. While young adult in nature, teenage angst is kept to a tolerable level, thankfully.
The writing and flow of the story is one of the better examples in the sci/fi-fantasy category.
Natalie Hoyt does an expert reading of the novel, giving the characters depth and uniqueness.
This audiobook was provided by the author, narrator, or publisher at no cost in exchange for an unbiased review courtesy of Audiobook Blast.
It's never easy to stand out in the giant world of YA fantasy, but XODUS is definitely unique. I'm so glad there were no vampires or werewolves or angels. The teen relationships were more complex than the ever-common love triangle. The only thing I had a hard time with was the world building, but that is an area every YA fantasy author has some struggle with. Overall, XODUS is an interesting read.
Natalie Hoyt did a pretty good job narrating. Her pacing was very good, but her characters blended into each other a bit.
**I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.**
Blogger, audiobook lover, and all around cool chic!
Astralis is the realm Alea lies in. The Astralis people have wonderful and fantastical abilities, unique just to them. Every person can astral project, but also each individual has their own twist on their projected self. Xitali is clueless as to what she is and where she is really from. This is her journey to self discovery upon horrific circumstances. While looking for her mother whom has left without a trace, Xitali aka Lali, uncovers lies and betrayal. Will she be able to control her abilities before it's too late for her mother?
The story begins three months after Lali's mother abandons her family. Just turning 16, Lali comes into her powers, but doesn't even know what is happening to her until she meets Kai. Kai shares the same heritage as Lali, and is looking for his missing sister. Together, they try to unravel the mystery of how to enter Alea undetected, and free both Kai's sister, and hopefully Lali's mother. This is the first book to what will become a series. The world building for Alea was really interesting and left me wanting to discover more. We didn't spend hardly any time in that realm because it was too dangerous for the half breeds. The background story behind Lali's mother and the other key players in the story was new and fresh for me. I enjoyed how everything came together in the end. I wasn't so sure about Kai however. In the beginning, he came across caring, helpful, and even charming at times, but then he turned into a huge jerk and was threatening towards Lali and her family. He was ugly inside, no doubt from his evil uncle, and was willing to stomp on anyone to get his sister back. I will be curious to see how their relationship develops in future books.
As far as Lali's father....REALLY? His wife tells him she's from another realm and has abilities and he doesn't believe her! I'm not so sure about dad right now either. He's up there with Kai in the dog house. Lali's younger siblings however are wonderful. I love the relationship they have with each other, and when they come into their own, they shine! That family will be a force to be reckoned with!
Natalie Hoyt gives us the pleasure of reading Xodus for us. She does a great job! Such a smooth rich tone to her voice, and I love the teenage angst she captures as well. I definitely give Natalie 4 stars for her performance!
**Book provided by the author for an honest review**
How the siblings banned together when they discovered their powers and the way Lali worked with Kai once she learned the truth.
She did a really great job making me believe other people were talking. Each person had a different voice
Yes, very much so
This audiobook was provided by the author, narrator, or publisher at no cost in exchange for an unbiased review courtesy of Audiobook Boom
This audiobook was provided to me by the author at no cost in exchange for an unbiased review.
About the story:
When I saw that this book was about Astral Projection, I had to listen to it. I mean, Astral Projection, how cool is that? Besides, it made an appreciated change from your usual YA Fantasy theme.
So, what’s the final verdict? Overall, this was a solid read with some awesome plot twists, but I believe it was aimed at a younger audience.
“Take that you muggle!”
The idea is fairly conventional; a sixteen year-old teenager, Lali, finds out that she has a special ability, in this case astral projection. Now, astral projecting means that you can separate your spirit from your body, therefore being able to be in two places at the same time. The author took it even further, imagining several different ways to astral project.
This concept was quite appealing to me, but I have to admit that I found myself sometimes overwhelmed by all the various forms of it.
Moreover, Lali goes on a quest to find her mother, who may or may not have abandoned her and her four siblings. This plot line had both flaws and strong points.
Obviously, the quest to find a missing loved-one is a bit of a cliché, especially in YA. Additionally, Lali’s progress is uneven and often frustrating.
However, I did like the way K.J McPike dealt with the issue of one parent leaving and the consequences for the whole family, especially for the eldest sibling. Having lived myself a very similar situation, I could totally relate to Lali. It was fairly obvious to me that she felt responsible for her younger siblings and, at the same time, needed to act (even recklessly) to stop feeling helpless. There was a scene in particular where all the brothers and sisters are present, and I found it very touching in its simplicity.
“You took one psychology class and you think you’re freaking Freud.”
My main issue with this book was the rhythm of the narration. Apart from one opening action scene, the reader has to wait twelve chapters for the story to really begin. During those first chapters, the main character struggles to understand her powers. So, of course, she starts by thinking that they are a dream or a hallucination.
The problem here is that the reader knows they aren’t, having picked a fantasy book. I found it very frustrating to have to sit by and wait until Lali finally admits that her ability is real. I understand that for credibility purposes she cannot admit right away that astral projection is possible, but a good ten chapters of doubt are way too long for the reader.
“You’re squirming like a hooker in church.”
In my opinion, the strength of this book was its ability to sustain numerous plot twists. During the last quarter of the audiobook I was completely dumb-founded in front of my computer and thinking: omg K.J, you did NOT just do that!
Some little twists I have to admit, I saw coming, but the main ones really took me by surprise. I wasn’t expecting this kind of complexity from this book.
“I knew the bully that lived under his nice complexion and perfect teeth.”
Another good point of this story is that it is unencumbered by a heavy romance. The heroin has a crush on someone, but her behavior remains realistic and coherent all the while.
She has sorted out her priorities, and bears in mind that trust is something to be earned before it can be given.
I would have given this book an extra star weren’t it for a few weak points. The names of the characters made me cringe every time. I know that they were important, but I think there is such a thing as too much originality.
Also, I didn’t appreciate it when Lali made comments about how she thought one particular character was shady. I think it would have been much more effective to actually show the shady behavior to the reader, instead of telling them how they should feel.
Plus, several clichés made me feel uneasy (but I won’t share them here as they could be spoilers) as did some teenage angst.
And finally, the ending was anticlimactic to me; I think a better repartition of the plot twists could have easily resolved that issue.
In conclusion, this book will not be sitting on my best-of-the-best shelf. However, it was an interesting read that I would recommend for a younger audience, maybe from fourteen to eighteen years old.
I believe this is the first book of the author, and it is definitely a good start. I will keep a watch on K.J McPike’s work because I think there is great potential in it.
About the audiobook narrator:
Natalie Hoyt has a very calm and controlled tone of voice, some might even call it uniform. I personally liked it a lot, and I thought it was a clever choice. The first-person narrative of the novel is the one of a sometimes restless teenage girl, and I found that Hoyt’s narration balanced it quite well. She also managed to make different voices for each character, and her rendition of a nine-year-old girl was agreeable without being silly.
However, Hoyt has trouble following paralinguistic qualities such as lisping. Her southern accent was unfortunately unconvincing.
I had to take a while to figure out how to review this book. "Young Adult" is not a genre I tend to read a lot because I have a hard time relating to the characters, but in spite of that, I thought this was pretty good. I thought it was a little different from the other YA Paranormal books out there because it deals with astral projection (this is the first book I can recall reading that deals with astral projection). The story and the characters were interesting and pretty well-developed, but I found myself getting a little confused toward the end of the book after they meet back up with the main character's mother. I had a hard time keeping straight the new characters introduced in the latter part of the book. The narrator, Natalie Hoyt, did a good job. Her voice was pleasant, and sounded as I expected the main character to sound. No complaints. Overall, a pretty good book for one not used to reading YA, and probably a great book for fans of the genre.
I started using Audible on my commutes to and from work. Then introduced my husband to them while driving to Virginia. We both love them.
Exciting, Captivating, Riveting
Lali is the main character in the book. A teenager trying to cope with High school, Her mother leaving and perhaps even falling in love. Not to mention being able to "Astral Project" Not your typical teenager.
A tragic scene when she realizes that the guy she is falling in love with, is the person that kidnapped her mother.
The part that stands out to me, is when she first see's her mother, after a realizing Kia was the person responsible for kidnapping her.
A well written book. A fresh new topic that I have not seen in any "paranormal" book. I would recommend this book to anyone who is a Lover of the Paranormal.
XODUS has a similar feel to me to Sarah Noffke novels.
This story started out great and pulled me in right away. I found the set-up (a birthday tradition) for telling a bit of the backstory realistic, and it prepped me for the type of character to expect for the rest of the book. This was helpful, because, honestly, the main character, Lali, did get on my nerves a bit (which is somewhat common for me when reading young adult I suppose). I found myself rolling my eyes internally when she would say, repetitively, something along the lines of how she just couldn't wait, or she needed to do/see something/someone right now. I suspect these thoughts were supposed to show Lali's anguish about missing her mother, but it didn't work for me. Although she is supposed to be the oldest of five kids, it was hard for me to see her as the oldest as she really didn't present like an eldest child to me with all of her whining.
Speaking of -- the siblings were great. Despite their unique names (don't ask me to spell them since this was the audiobook!), they were very easy to distinguish and their personalities were presented well right from the beginning. Nearly all the characters were great, actually. I would have appreciated more of Nelson and Kai's uncle.
What keeps this book from getting a fifth star from me feels like nitpicking -- but from a plot perspective I had a really hard time with the fact that (1) Lali has the power to spy on people as she is invisible when she astral projects, but she never makes a conscious decision to figure out what Kai isn't telling her, even after she somewhat accidentally overhears a conversation that shows her he isn't telling her a lot! There is maybe a hint of spying being immoral when the powers of other half-astrali are mentioned in a historical context early on in the book, but if this is her reasoning it isn't fleshed out like some of the other moral quandaries, nor do I think it would really fit with the rest of her decision making skills (or lack there of). (2) I have no idea why Kai thinks that restoring his uncle's power would be a viable plan for getting his sister. In many ways I sympathize with Kai's uncle, probably more than I was meant to, but I simply don't understand what he was thinking. It's like both Lali and Kai have blindfolds on.
Perhaps what bothered me the most about the plot is how the group of original XODUS members were handled. Why was it that Lali's mom was kidnapped and the others were not? Why didn't Ursula reach out to help Lali and her siblings once she brought them deep into the mix? Why was there such a rush to free Lali's mom when it was clear she was safe? I have questions that go on and on... In the end, the mom still has to "tell" Lali what has happened and of the history of XODUS, making for a somewhat anti-climatic ending after all the action.
Overall, though, despite my complaints -- I really did enjoy listening to the story. I really loved the complexity of Kai's uncle's character, and, to a lesser extent, of Kai himself. There were some really great realistic scenes (yes, a teenager really would google hallucinations), and I really did care what was happening next. I stayed up way later than I should have to finish the story, and I am looking forward to the next installment from Kai's point of view.
The narrator did a solid job. She was easy to listen to, for both her male and female voices. Like others have said, some of the voices did blend together a bit, but it wasn't bothersome for me.
I received this audiobook free from the author from LOP R2R.
Real Rating = 3.5*
A YA Contemporary Fantasy centered on a strong but struggling family.
SERIES INFO: This is Book #1 in the “Astralis” series. According to the author, “I anticipate three main books in the Astralis series, as well as a few companion novels from different perspectives. That could always change because I love playing in the Astralis story world, but that's the plan for now.” She also reports that, “The first companion novel is called Nemesis, and it will come out this summer. (Yay!) The second book in the main series—tentatively titled Tenuous—will be out this winter. (Double yay!)"
Lali: Abandoned by her mother, disbelieved by her father, strong armed by Kai - she seemingly has no good options. She's just trying to keep it together for her younger siblings.
Kai: A complex character whose morals are very much in question. It will be interesting to read the "companion novel" from his perspective.
Lali & Kai: This is a very complicated relationship between two people who have a lot of problems. I will have to hold judgement on whether it could ever turn into something romantic and good, or not.
The beginning was an excellent one. Mystery, peril, and emotion. The ending resolves one situation but should definitely be considered a cliffhanger.
It seems that the Yavari family would have been a great one to be part of, before things started falling apart. I would have liked to get more glimpses of the time before.
This is one of those books where I will have to read the next one to decide fully how I feel about this one, since the ending changes many things. It's also one where I can't include many of my comments in order to avoid spoilers.
NARRATION: I liked her narration. / I listened on my usual 1.25 speed / Acceptable accents & male voices.
FAVORITE PART(S): The whole thing about not wanting to use “the boys’ bathroom.” This was totally how it was in my large family.
I COULD HAVE DONE WITHOUT: Infrequent use of the Lord’s name in vain. Other mild swearing. / I struggled with all the strange names, it might have been easier if I had read the book rather than listened. (It turns out there is a reason for the names though. You can read about this in the bonus interview.)
--Enjoyment: AVERAGE - it helped me get through a tedious road trip.
--Re-readability: AVERAGE - I definitely want to listen to it at least one more time, now that certain revelations have come out.
I received this book free from the author in return for an honest review.
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