Friday, January 13, 2017

Reader's Review: "Kalla" by Amber Morant

Synopsis from Amazon:

Kalla has uncovered the greatest conspiracy the government has hidden under everyone’s nose spearheaded by the Abyss, a powerful underground agency. Abyss has weaponized humans that can control time and space itself. However, they weren’t prepared for a coup d'etat from their own creations led by Kalla. Assisted by her ability to manipulate the climate around her, Kalla embarks on a mission to stop the underground government agency. Follow Kalla through the deep alcoves of the Abyss Experimentation Labs to the forests of the renegade Myst as Kalla learns that not every battle can be won and some victories come with a dire price.

My Review:

Anymore in Young Adult literature, "teens with superpowers" is a fairly common plot choice. So is "government conspiracy." When they're both included as part of the premise, the outcome of the plot is practically inevitable, right?

Not here, not now!

From the very start, Morant sets the tone of her tale, which reads more like an episodic serial than an actual novel—and it is unique and creative enough to keep me intrigued. I can safely say that I could read without being able to predict most of the plot twists that happened! The basic concepts that formed the foundation of this story: the "technicals", or special elemental powers endowed to certain people, the two warring factions, the Abyss and the Myst—all of it was FANTASTIC. It was the kind of idea that sparks in a creative mind and makes an avid-reader (like me) go all "starry-eyed" over it. The plot it spawned—just relentless in the way it just kept building on itself, and pushing toward the finale. Nicely done!
As for the narrative itself—a bit rushed, and jam-packed with information. The plot scurries along at such a pace that the reader isn't given much time to "unpack" as we are hustled from one "plot event" to the next, even taking long "leaps" between some of the "episodes." I would have loved to slow down and explore a bit more of the world, and the ideas and concepts—but Kalla is a character of more action than contemplation, and with good reason! Her world is neither happy nor safe, and she needs all her wits about her, even as her enemies seek to destroy her not just physically, but mentally and emotionally, too.
And where would a determined heroine be without a crew at her back? Morant provides a host of diverse and intricately-connected characters—some we get to find out backstories more than others. A few of them managed to develop their own "voices" in my head, but unfortunately not all of them. The dialogue between the characters was a little more "exposition-heavy" and not so much of the "banter" sort—but that could also be affected by the speed of the plot. Too much needed to happen in a short space. These characters just don't have time to kick back and make smart-aleck quips at each other!

It's a desperate race from start to finish! I give Kalla a solid ****4 STAR**** rating, and if you're looking for a neat twist on the "teen superpowers and government conspiracy" idea, a quick read that you'll want to plow through in one sitting, then I would certainly recommend KALLA to you!
Further Reading: (Teens-With-Superpowers/Big Government/Dystopian/Fast Plot):
The Vemreaux Trilogy--Mary E. Twomey
       -The Way
       -The Truth
       -The Lie 
 Lord of the Wyrde Woods--Nils Visser
     -Escape From Neverland
     -Dance Into The Wyrd
-Disenchanted--Kelsey Gamendia  
The PSS Chronicles--Ripley Patton
-Ghost Hand
       -Ghost Hold
       -Ghost Heart
       -Ghost Hope
-The Portal Prophecies: A Keeper's Destiny--C. A. King