Publisher: Bloomsbury USA Childrens
Release Date: October 14, 2014
Genres: Adventure, Magic, YA
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.
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~
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