Into the Wise Dark by Neesha Meminger
Zanum has been Pammi's second home since she first found it at the age of seven with her special ability. Pammi loves her mother but after being forced to see Dr. Mace she's kept her gift of traveling through time a secret. Pammi almost lost Zanum because of Dr. Mace. So Pammi pretends to be normal and not called to her other home. In Zanum she has a second mother and a boyfriend named Dhan. Pammi will be spending the summer before her senior year working as peer support counselor at a psychiatric facility. This unwanted position is a part of her everything okay cover. Pammi spends as much time as she can in Zanum. After a plot to destroy Zanum is brought to light, Pammi's distraught fearing she is responsible.
As with most fantasy novels the first half is dedicated to world building. I liked Pammi, even more so when I realized she was a secondary character from the author's previous novel Jazz in Love. Meminger's writing is fundamentally sound and I can't put my finger on why the first half didn't grab me like I thought it would. There was only one thing I could've done without, Dr. Mace's bad intentions being so obvious. It felt as if the author was forcing this truth on the reader and I don't think it added to the storyline.
Zanum was well developed and visualized. Also there were a few scenes in the first part that stood out. Actually one in particular I loved. It plays a pivotal roll so I won't reveal much. I will simply say its about life death, trust, sacrifice and faith, also the suspense of that scene was intensely beautiful. It also had the wow and pop I expect from Meminger.
Before I got to the second half which I absolutely loved, one of the main reasons I kept reading because of who wrote the story. I did the same thing a few years back with Marchetta's Jellicoe Road. Anyone who's read Jellicoe Road knows the first time in the beginning is very confusing. If it was anyone else I would've put the book down but I had faith in the author's writing and stuck with it and payoff was beautiful.
Jellicoe Road and Into the Wise Dark are two very different novels, the only common factor is me continuing to read because I trusted the authors to take me some where worth going. Like Marchetta, Meminger did not let me down.
The turning point in this novel comes for me, when Pammi learns the truth about the three teen girls she's suppose to mentor. They all have their own special ability and Pammi will need them to help save Zanum. Since the past impacts the present is Pammi and the girls do not stop Zanum from being destroyed girls like them will no longer exist.
I thought the author did an excellent job with the foursome dynamic, their abilities and personalities were well balanced. Dr. Mace didn't work for me, but the mastermind behind the plot to ruin Zanum more then made up for it. That was some good evil with a nice dash of creepy, leading to some visually amazing scenes, several times I was scared for Pammi's life. I really appreciated that I couldn't see the confrontations coming. One minute everything is okay, the next no so much. The threats coming at unexpected times drew me into the story even more There was a lot of goodness in the second half, everything came together and the author's world building paid off. Meminger's first fantasy novel was a wonderful success.
When was I finished Into the Wise Dark I wanted more. Since this is self published there's no guarantee that the author will get a chance to share another installment but I will keep my fingers crossed. If nothing else I am thankful for the chance to read this and lose myself in a wonderfully diverse YA fantasy novel that was not more of the same.
Read an excerpt
review copy courtesy of the author