Author: Mell Eight
Publisher: Less Than Three Press
Pages: 171 Pages (Kindle)
Category: Paranormal, Urban Fantasy
At a Glance: An interesting take on the paranormal with thought provoking information about Jewish history.
Reviewed By: Lindsey
Blurb: On her deathbed, Yani’s Great Grandmother reveals she has one last story from her past to tell: that of his Great Uncle Yakov, who helped her survive the Nazis. It’s a story of vampires and werewolves he can scarcely believe—and in the wake of his Great Grandmother’s death, Yani realizes the story is far from over.
The world of vampires and werewolves isn’t a safe place for a human, even one with Yani’s unusual family history. With danger at his door, the smart thing would be to run, but much like his Great Grandmother Yani has never been very good at running away—especially with his loved ones and the whole world at stake.
Review: Magnified has an interesting take on the paranormal and was thought provoking, specifically with the historical elements. I enjoyed both aspects, for the most part.
The story begins with Yani’s Great Grandmother, Chana, on her deathbed, finally telling the story of what happened when they escaped the train heading for a concentration camp, and ultimately surviving to come to America. I was engrossed in this part of the story, told from third person narrative from Chana’s experience. Because of the supernatural aspects of her story, many of Yani’s family don’t believe what she tells them. Yani, only thirteen, holds no reservations.
Several years later, Yani is a college student studying international law, and events occur that only expand his beliefs in the supernatural. Yani, along with Aaron, Brandon and Luke, are thrown into the middle of something that turns out to be so much deeper and darker than they thought possible. Yani was a very believable character. His insecurities when he is thrown into the supernatural world are understandable, as he was surrounded by all these species that have something “special,” and he appears to be a mere human that was thrust into the world. Through some other perspectives, we also see how the supernatural community regards a human with no ties to the supernatural community which only perpetuates Yani’s insecurities.
This story is steeped in history, mainly the history of Jewish people, not only the Holocaust but also Jewish culture and traditions that I am not very familiar with but found fascinating. Because of Yani’s degree and a paper due, the reader also gets a lot of material regarding different genocides and the political environment at different times. I understood the relevance of the paper and the reason for so much focus on genocide, because it gives insight on Yani’s perspective on certain situations he encounters. Very thought provoking and made me say, “Huh,” several times to ponder the information. But the history and information was also where the story needed work. There were several unnecessary references and random information dumps that didn’t add to the plot in any valuable way, and came off as a little lecture-y; it was a little too much at times.
The story is mainly told from Yani’s perspective, with only a few times the POV changes. POV switches can make or break a book for me; I absolutely loathe trying to figure out where a POV changed and whose POV I am reading from. In this case the switch was easy to follow, it didn’t jump around, and it was clear which characters’ perspective I was reading.
This book’s focus is more on the historical element in the beginning, so it seemed a little slower to start. I got caught in the steady flow of Yani’s life and learning of the Jewish history and traditions and then, all of the sudden, events unfold; there are supernatural creatures coming out of the woodwork, and action, action, action. It was somewhat jarring, going a slow but steady pace, then to non-stop action. Not necessarily a bad thing, just… a difficult transition. There are periods of time between chapters where not much occurs, but since it is all off page, it seems like a non-stop roller coaster of crazy once events start to unfold.
As Yani, Aaron, Brandon, and Luke’s story is continued in the next book, a lot of time is spent on the development of the four college students and what their eventual roles within the supernatural community will be, and that hinges mostly on the mystery unraveling and the parts they play. If you are looking for a lot of on page intimacy and romance at the forefront of the story, this book may not be for you. The romance, while slowly simmering in the background, is definitely not the main focus; it’s extremely slow-burn and the book ends with it just winding up to possibly being more.
I wouldn’t necessarily call the ending a cliffhanger—or, maybe it is. It didn’t make me want to throw my Kindle and scream, “How can you leave me like this?!” There are several unresolved issues, and more that appear to be on the horizon for the four protagonists in book two, Justified, but I was satisfied with where this particular book wrapped up. I will definitely be joining the quartet to see how the events unfold, and what lays ahead for them.
You can buy Magnified here: