By: Larissa | September 30, 2014 | (23) Comments

Review: Chasing Power by Sarah Beth DurstChasing Power by Sarah Beth Durst
Publisher: Bloomsbury USA Childrens
Release Date: October 14, 2014
Genres: Adventure, Magic, YA
Pages: 368
Source: Received in exchange for review
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Lies, secrets, and magic — three things that define Kayla's life. Sixteen-year-old Kayla plans to spend her summer hanging out on the beach in Santa Barbara and stealing whatever she wants, whenever she wants it. Born with the ability to move things with her mind — things like credit cards, diamond rings, and buttons on cash registers — she has become a master shoplifter. She steals to build up a safety net, enough money for her and her mom to be able to flee if her dad finds them again. Well, that, and the thrill of using her secret talents.
But her summer plans change when she's caught stealing by a boy named Daniel — a boy who needs her help and is willing to blackmail her to get it. Daniel has a talent of his own. He can teleport, appearing anywhere in the world in an instant, but he lies as easily as he travels. Together, they embark on a quest to find and steal an ancient incantation, written on three indestructible stones and hidden millennia ago, all to rescue Daniel's kidnapped mother. But Kayla has no idea that this rescue mission will lead back to her own family — and to betrayals that she may not be able to forgive... or survive.

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I’ve read this book a little bit ago and remember enjoying it, but now when it comes to writing this review right now I can’t remember really much about the book. I suppose that’s something to note about Chasing Power, though it’s a whole lot of adventurous fun it’s not particularly impactful nor memorable.

At first my reaction to this book wasn’t entirely positive as I found myself not getting into the book for a solid 20 percent. However when Kayla meets Daniel, the story really does begin to take off. I found myself captivated by these characters and their undeniably awesome superpowers. Really, I would kill for Daniel’s power to teleport anywhere in the world given a photograph. I found the powers were described well, however it wasn’t till the very end of the story where we discover the origin of these powers. For the longest time in Chasing Power, I felt as if we weren’t going to get a conclusive reason for these powers even existing in both Kayla and Daniel. The eventual reason for their powers does make sense, but I feel that more hints sprinkled over the course of the novel would have made for a more balanced reading experience.

The quest to find Daniel’s mother was something that I just loved reading about. It kept me flipping pages at a lightning speed and I totally fell for those red herrings. It wasn’t predictable in the least and I kept finding myself shocked but the twists and turns.  It was in no way easy, however it was not stupidly difficult that you really had to forget all semblance of logic and the fact that these were teenagers.  There were a few conveniences though that left me a little annoyed. The quest was elevated with the powers of Kayla and Daniel’s powers, taking the mystery to exotic locations with the help of Daniel’s teleportation skills. It really did feel like a true Indiana Jones adventure with the quest taking them to places such as ancient Mexican ruins. I enjoyed that the locations were not only beautifully described, but also allowed for the  history and culture of the places to be embedded within the story.

Kayla was the main character of the story and one that I found definitely matured as the book went on. In the beginning I wasn’t the biggest fan of her and found her to be quite petulant honestly. She does have a reason for this behavior, but I wouldn’t allow it as an excuse. Throughout the novel we really do see Kayla grow and in a way discover herself. This was done so organically and naturally, by the end of the book I totally adored Kayla’s character. Her sarcastic humor also was enjoyable and well placed. I found myself smiling at several points of her narration.

Daniel was another character in the story and the love interest to Kayla. However I enjoyed how the author developed him more than that and just didn’t leave him as “the love interest.” Daniel was refreshing as a character and a love interest. He didn’t fall prey to any of the usual tropes and was really just focused on rescuing his mom, even with their strained relationship. Daniel was afraid of heights, and this was a quirk that I liked. It’s becoming more and more rare in YA to have love interests with their own insecurities and fears. I really appreciated that the author gave Daniel his own backstory and motives.

The relationship between Daniel and Kayla was undoubtedly adorable. It does seem to move quite quickly though, and what was encouraging to me was seeing this relationship not only flourish but suffer.

“You realize that relationships formed in reactions to intense situations don’t last.”

So often in YA we see these relationships formed under these dangerous circumstances. It really isn’t realistic and in Chasing Power  we see this trope turned on its head truly. It goes through its up and downs, and because of that it felt more organic. It made the more sweeter moments more swoon-worthy, and the heartbreaking moments more crushing.

Something I really enjoyed in Chasing Power  was the familial relationships. They were definitely not cookie cutter and there was a lot of big reveals and twists regarding both Daniel and Kayla’s parents that I didn’t see coming. There were definitely conflicts on both sides during the course of the story and these conflicts certainly felt realistic and well placed. Alongside the conflicts you could see that there was strong emotions further complicating matters. I really enjoyed that rather than the family taking the back seat as these two characters go on a quest, the families were front and center. I would even argue that the families of both Kayla and Daniel were instrumental to the storyline and without them the ending of Chasing Power wouldn’t be as truly explosive as it was. Another relationship that I felt was well done was Kayla’s friendship with Selena. Her interactions with Kayla were really great to read and often humorous. My only complaint would be that I wish there was more of them, and a more conclusive ending with Selena in general. I also would have appreciated more of a development with her characterization. She did seem to be a bit of the stereotypical best friend just there for one liners.

The ending was definitely action packed, though after all of the build up with the antagonists I was excepting something more.  It was like one o them was totally left to the side and there wasn’t much closure with that.

This review has been pretty vague by my standards, but that’s just to avoid spoilers. I think with Chasing Power  saying less will do it more justice.

With a slower start, a few conveniences and a bit of withholding information, some may not enjoy Chasing Power as much as I did. Overall, I would recommend Chasing Power  for those looking for a fun adventure novel (with superpowers!), and well developed familial and romantic relationships.

~Thank you Bloomsbury USA Children’s for the review copy~

3.5 Stars
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Larissa was born and still is living in the land of ice, snow and maple syrup. She's 18 years old and really has no idea what to do with her life lately. Larissa's plans are constantly changing--though there’s one thing has remained constant throughout her seventeen years, and that’s reading. It takes her to another world and puts her into impossible situations and that’s why she loves it so much.

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23 Responses to Review: Chasing Power by Sarah Beth Durst

  1. I love superpowers so I must read this one!

  2. Ahhh a love interest who actually stands on his own as a character! Very nice. I don’t get how authors expect us to fall for someone who doesn’t exist outside of the main relationship . . . it makes them seem to one-dimensional and boring.

    • Larissa says:

      Shocking isn’t it [; Wow, you explained the reasoning for why having a developed love interest is important perfectly. I definitely agree completely.

  3. I don’t like that this book was forgettable, and the lack of information would frustrate me to no end. However, superpowers are indeed awesome, and the characters sound pretty life-like which is always a good thing. I need to be really wowed by a YA title though in order to actually want to read it, and after checking out your review I’m just not feeling it.
    Carmel @ Rabid Reads recently posted…Paranormal New Releases: September 30thMy Profile

    • Larissa says:

      Yeah there was definitely a few moments where the withholding of information got on my nerves. This one did definitely have its positives and negatives. Yeah, this one really didn’t wow me completely. It was missing a few things honestly.

  4. Hmm… it seems that this book is a bit forgetable? The ending and such sound a bit disappointing, but I like the sound of the family relationships. I will have to consider this one a bit more.
    Heidi@Rainy Day Ramblings recently posted…Tell Me Something Tuesday: Library LoveMy Profile

    • Larissa says:

      Yeah it was just missing that quality that really gets some books stuck in my mind long after reading. The family relationships were quite well done c:

  5. Tanja says:

    Girl as soon as you find a way to get Daniel’s power remember that I love you and that I’d looooove to have it too! Just remember 😉 Anyhow yeah there are books that seem really appealing but after some time you realize that they aren’t actually memorable. So yeah, I understand your feelings here. Great review, Larissa 🙂
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    • Larissa says:

      Hahaha! Still working on it [; but really Daniel’s superpower is now my answer to the “what superpower would you like to have” question. Really, it’d be incredible. Yeah, totally get what you mean with only some books having that factor to truly remain in your mind after reading. Chasing Power was missing that for me sadly. Thank you Tanja! <33

  6. Henrietta says:

    I want Daniel’s power too! 🙂
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  7. Melanie says:

    You make me cry, Larissa. You can write such an awesome and detailed review even if it wasn’t memorable. If I tried, I’d probably only squeeze 3 small paragraphs outta me lol. Anyway, it sucks that it’s not memorable, so probably already not worthy of my time. But superpowers! It is tempting. I’ll keep this one on the TBR, and keep a close eye on it.

    Brilliant review, hun! <33

  8. Larissa says:

    Awwww <33 Mel you give the sweetest comments okay. Haha writing this review was actually quite difficult because I had really no recollection of much. Thank god for that highlight feature lol.

    Thank you <3333333

  9. Zoe N. says:

    Wow! Very impressive that you can write this after reading the actual book so long ago – ha! 😉 Definitely going to give this a try – I’m so glad that there is a focus on well-developed familial relationships here, and that the love interest is actually well-developed. *gasps* And no one can go wrong with superpowers, right? 😉 It’s a shame it was a bit difficult to get into, but it sounds like once you truly get into it it’s absolutely pheonominal. Thanks for sharing Larissa and, as always, BRILLIANT review! <3
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    • Larissa says:

      Haha! I did read the book back in early August I believe. And wrote the review about a week after lol. The familial relationships were probably my favorite aspect of Chasing Power, they felt so genuine and organic. SUPERPOWERS YASSSSSS! Lol the day I read a 5 star book involving super powers I’ll probably cry tears of happiness. Thank you for the sweet comment girl <33

  10. Amelia K says:

    Ooooohhh I am going to add this one to my to read list because I can be a bit of a romance junkie and I love the sound of this romance between Kayla and Daniel! I’m glad that you really liked this one in the end after the not so amazing start and conveniences. Cool review!

    • Larissa says:

      Yeah the romance was quite well done, especially so when compared to the unrealistic insta love that seems to plauge YA these days. Thank you Amelia 🙂

  11. I love strong family and romantic relationships so I am definitely adding this one to the long list of books I want to read. Too bad the start was a little shaky, so I’ll keep that in mind when I go to read this! Also, I would love Daniel’s super ability. It’d save so much time! Fabulous review Larissa 🙂

    • Larissa says:

      Haha yes, my ever existing TBR is also quite huge. Yeah, after the slow start I really think things did pick up the pace. Daniel’s powers would totally make my life, it would make my dream of travelling the world so easy and amazing. Thank you Johanna (:

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  13. That’s why I take notes or I get done and I have like one paragraph to say. I love superpowers books, so this one was on my list. I’m a bit hesitant about that beginning, but the characters sound really good. I like that the love interest is actually a character! Nice review! 🙂
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