INITIATION – Book Review

“What would you do if you found yourself in a mystical world, without knowing how you got there or even where ‘there’ is? “

Well, what can I say. Yet another fantasy novel that has kept me hooked from start to finish. Who’d have thought! Such a fabulous author that deserves so much more recognition. If you’re a fan of a good fantasy novel, this one is a must. I was very pleasantly surprised and I’m super happy to share my thoughts with you!

Initiation by L. A. Limpkin follows the story of Hannah, who finds herself in a mysterious forest, with no recollection of how she got there. She eventually discovers a new world that is as interesting as it is dangerous. Can she find peace in this new world, or will it turn into a place of horror and despair?

The beginning.

The prologue does a really great job of setting the scene for this book. It seemed very mysterious to me and I immediately had questions that I was keen to find the answers to. I instantly loved Limpkin’s way of writing; so smooth-flowing and informative. It held my attention and I seemed mesmerised by the detail in each paragraph. I always hold my breath for an opening chapter that draws me in and keeps me invested in a story, and Limpkin has nailed it. Such a great start and I was confident that this would continue throughout the book.

We’re launched into the story with some of the greatest description I’ve read from an indie author; a panicked flee from a ‘something’ in the forest, the earthy smell and feel of Hannah’s surroundings as well as the cold and wet ‘creature’ grabbing her leg – I instantly felt so involved here and things just seemed to get better and better, drawing us into the adventure further.

When the action packed opening scene draws to a close, we’re able to stop and take a breath. We get to know our main character a little more and we come to realise that there something not quite right. Hannah ‘dreams’ of certain situations and wakes up safely, but with the same injuries as in these dreams. At this point, we don’t really know how or why, but it’s really exciting to let your imagination explore this for you. Will we ever get to know? Or will it be a constant mystery throughout the book?

“The survivors of the forest met in private, behind closed doors, and recounted their shared memories, fear forcing them to whisper.”

We learn that Hannah doesn’t know who her real parents are and there is an active search for them. Hannah doesn’t have much faith and isn’t sure that she’ll ever find out who they are. I really like the idea of a ‘side story’ and this one in particular really helps us to feel close to the main character. However, I do have a sneaking suspicion that these two stories may join together further down the line. Perhaps in this book or in a future book in the series – only time will tell!

The middle.

I’m a fan of a good mystery, and as well as the fantasy theme, we see a lot of this too. As Hannah is trying to find her way back to the forest after only just finding her way back ‘home’, she ponders a lot about her childhood; why she can’t remember her time in the forest and who she met there. Little Will tries his best to make her remember and to keep her safe from the llumens and other creatures. Hannah seems like a crucial component to their survival, and all creatures of the forest want her for their own.

I liked the fantasy elements of this book and as soon as Hannah was transported to that forest through a mirror, I was hooked. Things seem so creepy and disturbing at times and others, intriguing and mysterious. Limpkin’s description really makes us feel many emotions and places us right in the middle of the action. (Also, 10 out of 10 for the Harry Potter reference…)

There are many separate stories to follow, but don’t let things confuse you – they all have a unique way of coming together! I enjoyed reading the different number of perspectives, but particularly enjoyed any time Hannah spent in the forest. It quickly became the one thing that I was constantly looking forward to experiencing. I also loved Hannah’s character; she knows what she wants and doesn’t let anything hold her back from finding the answers she most desperately needs.

“How do you explain that so many people remember being there? How can different people hallucinate the exact same thing?”

Things become even more dark and mysterious as more and more characters find out about the forest. Hannah begins to learn about how to use her powers correctly and effectively, whilst her family and friends frantically begin to worry where she disappears to. I really like how the story splits between inside and outside the forest and I think each chapter flows brilliantly from one environment to the next. I was eager to find out whether Hannah would commit to the forest and which side she would choose; Little Will, or the llumens. I did feel sorry for her family and friends in the “real” world and just how traumatised they’d be if she decided never to return.

The end.

As the story goes on, we see a different side to some of the creatures in the forest. At one point, we see them as friends, teaching Hannah to use her powers well. However, after a while, things aren’t what they seem, and we witness a huge turn in events, especially where one particular character is concerned. Already, I could see so many possibilities for book two and I found myself thinking of many different ways the book could end. Will Hannah be able to master her powers and live in harmony with the creatures of the forest? Will she ever be able to return home to the “real” world once more?

It seems like all the main characters seem to land in some sort of trouble whilst trying to save each other. I liked how I constantly felt on edge because of my attachment to these characters, and their concern for one another’s safety was something really special. You even find yourself thinking which characters you can trust and which you can’t. My views definitely changed towards the end of the story and I loved all the unexpected twists.

At one point, the forest seemed like a place of magic and mystery. Towards the end of the book, it becomes a much darker, dangerous place. It takes a lot of courage, loss and determination for the main characters to fight for survival and normality. I absolutely loved the unexpected link between two of the characters – I actually had to take a second to process how impressive it was! It shows that Limpkin has really thought about every specific detail in the book and has ensured that everything is perfectly stitched together.

“Blaming others was easy, but looking inside to find the culprit was unbearable.”

The ending of the book was so far from what I expected. I was shocked, saddened, but also incredibly excited about the outcome. We lose some characters, but there are also so many new possibilities as a result. The beginning of book two in the series is so much more appealing to me right now! I’m really looking forward to seeing how this series progresses. Book 1 has been an absolute pleasure to experience.

Overall thoughts.

It’s clear Limpkin has put her heart and soul into this novel. Each character is strong, there is an incredibly solid plot consistently throughout, and each page was a delight to read! I’ve only read a handful of fantasy novels so far, but this particular book has really encouraged me to read more. I’m really looking forward to book two and how the remaining characters cope with life in the forest.

Thanks so much to L. A. Limpkin for submitting her novel for me to read and review! You can purchase your own copy of Initiation: Protector Of Hidden Worlds (Book 1) on Amazon, available on Kindle and paperback. 📚 Follow her on Twitter for more updates!

Want a book review?

Give me a shout! If you have a book you think I’d enjoy, then I’d love to read it for you and write you a review! Email me your request to emilyquinn92@outlook.com. (Children’s authors welcome!)

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