A couple people asked me what the other book I read on my plane flight was. It was Nolander by Becca Mills. It is a book I wouldn’t normally read, but I’m glad I did. The book is, very loosely, about a girl named Beth who finds out she’s special, which is pretty typical for an Urban fantasy, but that’s where the similarities end. It is the first book in the Emanations series. You can get it for free on Amazon here. The Author’s webpage is here.
Amateur photographer Beth Ryder is in trouble. She’s taking pictures of things she can’t see, things that aren’t human. Beth has her own dreams, but people like her don’t get to go free. She’s seized by a dangerous organization dedicated to keeping Earth’s shadow world — and its frightening inhabitants — a secret. Forced into otherworldly politics and uncertain whom to trust, Beth must come to terms with a radically altered future — one in which her own humanity seems to be draining away.
The writing quality for this book is off the charts. It’s so well written that I felt smarter by just having read it.
Beth is a good character, just the right mixture of weakness and strength. The bad guys were strong and overwhelming as well as charming. I got a real sense of fear from the supporting cast. Even the ones who barely talked seemed to have loads of backstory, but somehow, the book isn’t bogged down by it.
The fantasy worlds Beth travels to in Nolander are remarkably well done and incredibly creative to boot.
The book is long. A lot longer than I’d normally read. I tend to shy away from anything over three hundred pages. Still, the book kept me wanting to know more.
I’d also have liked to see Beth level up a little more, be a little more in control of her power by the end. I felt myself wanting the author to just get on with it.
There were these weird chapters told from Beth’s perspective about another character that really threw me out of the book. Unfortunately, the book starts with one. I enjoyed the scenes, but I had to view them as almost a separate entity.
Keep in mind this is a first person book, and while there may be some way Beth learns of these events, it wasn’t made clear why she was able to tell this story during this book. Every time I got to one, I felt myself wanting to skip it, despite them being very well written. I didn’t because the character, Ghosteater, portrayed within them is remarkably likeable.
I really enjoyed the book despite it being long (for me). I’m definitely going to read book 2 and am excited to see what happens to Beth. It’s definitely not your traditional urban fantasy because there’s not enough punching or kissing, but if you’re looking for a romp through an imaginative world with compelling characters, Nolander by Becca Mills is the place to be.