Hi there! Today I’m sharing my review for a paranormal YA non-traditional romance coming out this Friday from Layla Messner. OVERWHELM is an epic tale set in the end days of Atlantis, and features two forbidden loves….
Check out my review and enter to win the $35 GC giveaway below!
About the book:
The living crystals that feed elemental power to Atlantis are exhausted. They give and give, but the Altantians just want more energy to fuel their magical city. Sixteen years ago, the crystals came up with a plan to make it all stop, a plan that revolves around three teens:
KALIOPE is a soulsinger, an empath with the power to sing the souls of the dead to their next lives. She just wants to grow up, but her mother won’t let her.
DANICA is Kaliope’s whipping girl. She gets punished whenever Kali disobeys.
CHIARAN is a firestarter, so reckless even his family considers him a monster.
When Chiaran arrives in Atlantis, he’s the first fire person to set foot on the island in a hundred years. Kaliope naturally considers him an enemy and uses the last of her depleted power against him. But the battle reveals that the two have more in common than anyone could have guessed.
Anyone, that is, except the crystals.
Three teenage antiheroes, a bisexual love triangle, and an island about to sink.
Overwhelm is a darkly sensual fairy tale about growing up against all odds.
Kaliope, Danica and Chiaran are Atlanteans. Kaliope and Danica are from the water tribe, and have the ability to turn into a dolphin and shark, respectively. Danica is a Guardian, the servant of Kaliope, charged with protecting Kaliope–a powerful soulsinger–and is also her whipping girl, beaten by Kaliope’s ruthless herbalist mother whenever Kaliope “misbehaves.” Also, Kaliope and Danica have a sexual relationship that is forbidden, and Danica is punished routinely for this.
Chiaran is a Fire Tribe person, heir to Fire Island, the place all the fire shifters moved to 100 years ago. They were tired of the Water tribe persons squandering the energy of the living Power Crystals that support life on Atlantis.
The queen of Atlantis has foretold the end of days to happen when Fire and Water bond–the chance meeting of Kaliope and Chiaran results in a forbidden word bond, and a lot of heartache for all involved.
This was an interesting read, but I had some reservations. Mostly, there is so much happening, so many characters tell this story, and it gets muddled. Kaliope’s mother is an abusive woman, and it seems she relishes the idea of keeping Kaliope under her authority. Kaliope cannot leave their home until she is a full-fledged woman (menstruates) which has yet to happen and Kaliope’s 16 already. I have a suspicion that her mother is really not the person she proclaims to be, but none of that was discussed in this book.
Chiaran is a young man, and a dragon shifter. His power is equal to Kaliope’s, or exceeds it, but the word bond causes them to share each other’s power. It’s a frightening experience for them, and the attraction between them is fierce. They have a hard time touching, or more, due to their powers clashing. Water douses water, and fire boils water.
There was a lot going on, but not much was resolved, unfortunately. We get to know a lot about the characters, there’s a hint that the end is nigh, and there’s a conspiracy to hide that knowledge, Kaliope and Danica suffer due to Kaliope’s abusive mother, and that’s most of it. The world building is lush, but the pace bogged for me. All the shifting points of view meant I had a bit of repetition to deal with…which was exhausting after a while.
The story ends in an abrupt confrontation and there’s a whole lot of story left to tell. I appreciated the difficulties for Kaliope and Danica. They have a master/slave relationship, which cripples their ability to have a loving partnership even though they have a lot of love fore each other. Chiaran and Kaliope have the potential to be equals, and that’s good, but I’m not sure how that will pan out in the sequel. This is clearly an epic story, but it’s not as fully developed as I would have liked. I’m still not clear regarding the purpose of the action, and how it will lead to the survival of Atlantis, if that is even possible.
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About the Author
Láyla Messner is a young-adult author and the founder of ChrysalisSanctuary.com for healing childhood sexual abuse. She has an M.A. in embodied writing from Goddard College and her novels provide New Sexual Mythology for teens. She believes that love is real. She does not believe in unsolicited advice or the word “impossible.”