Title: Phantom Universe (Summer Chronicles #1)
Author: Laura Kreitzer
Genre: Young Adult
Expected Publication: February 15th 2011 by Obsidian Mountain Publishing
Blurb: Sold into slavery to pirates at the young age of four, Summer learns to survive the rough seas of subterfuge and thieves through silence. When the boat she’s lived on most of her life is destroyed, Summer finds herself washed up on the shore of a new world, a phantom universe full of the bizarre and extraordinary. She meets Gage, the one boy who understands the girl with no speech. But when their lives are put on the line, will Summer finally call out? Or will all be lost in the fathomless depth of silence?
Thank you Obsidian Mountain Publishing for providing a review copy!
Since I´ve read the first book of Laura Kreitzer´s Timeless series and really enjoyed it, I immerdiatly took the opportunity when I was offered a very early copy of her new series The Summer Chronicles.
Phantom Universe tells the story of Summer, a slave girl who only survived by not speaking and trying to be invisible. When she finds herself in a whole new world after escaping the ships she works on, she also finds herself at the very center of attention – not only of gorgeous Gage, one of the few persons who seem to understand and care for her. A very powerful and dangerous group has taken a strange interest in her. When a dark secret of her past is revealed and her life is in even more danger than before, Summer has to decide: speak up or die.
Phantom Universe is a YA book, but there is a lot of heavy stuff in it. As a slave, Summer has to gone through a lot of both physical and mental torture (including an attempted rape) and unsurprisingly, life has left scars on her. Some visible, but the worst of them invisible. Laura Kreitzer has done an amazing job at creating such a fragile, insecure, tormented but also consistent character. Even though you can see how Summer gets better throughout the book, she only takes tiny steps. There are ups and downs and you can´t help but feel for her, suffer with her and get the urge to protect her.
Gage and Landon are the only ones that bring some kind of security, balance and safety to her life. Both care for her a great deal: Landon more in a brotherly way while you know immediately that Gage wants to be more than just a friend to her.Yet, he never forces her to do anything she doesn´t want and is incredibly sweet. (A little hint: the rose in the cover is not random.) Both guys would do anything to protect her and try to heal her without being too pushy or overpowering.
The rest of the characters in the book (especially Cameron) might be side characters, but that doesn´t mean they were given less thought by the author. Each one of them has been given a very distinct voice that hints how much work was put into this book.
Phantom Universe is set in a world that is ours, yet is completly different. I don´t want to give away too much about it, since part of it is integral to the plot, but just like Summer, the reader only gets tidbits of information about it. That is one thing that was a bit of a drawback for me, as I would have loved to learn more about both society history and technology, but as this is only the first book in the series, I´m sure that there is more to discover in the next books.
Both the prologue and the flashbacks to Summer´s childhood are great additions to the story. The former hints at a very mysterious and captivating part of the plot. The flashbacks provide a deeper insight to Summer´s character and help you understand how she became what she is. The last chapters of the book also introduce a new storyline that guarantees to keep you waiting impatiently for the next installment in the series.
Laura Kreitzer has a way of writing a story that somehow gets under your skin. I mentioned it above somewhere, this book is really intense, but nontheless moving and outstanding.
4.5 stars for Laura Kreitzer´s YA debut and extra 5 stars for Summer´s character.