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author: Augusta Blythe
series: Universe Unbound #1
published: 24 April 2011
publisher: Red Palm Press LLC
genre(s): fantasy, romance
buy/shelve it: Amazon | B&N | Goodreads
Mia Winterborne knows she is destined to be special. Her upcoming seventeenth birthday promises more than just a driver’s license. Is she a witch? The next Supergirl? Details are sketchy as her dad disappeared with all the answers when she was five. By Mia’s side is Loie Bryce, her best friend and eternal sidekick extraordinaire. The girls’ intense friendship has never wavered until now, when Andreas arrives in Salcey Ridge. They both fall hard for the British hottie, who quickly becomes a fixture in their lives. When they discover that Andreas is not who he appears to be, the frightening reality of Mia’s abilities finally hits home. The nearer Mia’s birthday draws, the more the danger escalates and long-buried lies are exposed, putting the girls on a path that they never expected.
Winterborne is the debut novel from Augusta Blythe and the first in the Universe Unbound series. I absolutely loved this book and couldn’t put it down once I started it! I expected it to be told from the standpoint of Mia because of the title, but it was instead narrated by Loie, Mia’s best friend.
The two girls were more sisters than friends, having known each other literally since birth. Through loss and tragedy, Loie has become as much a part of the Winterborne family as Mia herself. While both of the girls’ characters were likeable, it was Loie I most loved and related to. Forever cast as Mia’s faithful and supportive sidekick, she always felt second best to Mia. Mia’s character, while likeable, came off as a little arrogant sometimes, a little self-centered and insensitive to Loie. They had spent their entire lives preparing for their shared 17th birthday and the moment that Mia’s long awaited powers would finally manifest themselves. Loie’s entire world revolved around Mia and helping her and Mia had grown too used to be the center of it all. When Andreas entered the picture, that dynamic only magnified. I truly loved how real the characters felt, even in the midst of a fantasy story. Whether you liked them or were annoyed by them, the characters felt as if they were flesh and blood people, instead of fictional characters on paper.
While most of the real action happened in the second half of the story, the first half set the story and built the mystery and suspense. At first, I thought that it was going to have a bit of the typical YA teen drama of two best friends falling for the same hot guy, and it did, but it certainly didn’t end the way I thought it would and THAT was refreshing! But the book is so much more than that. The suspense was built beautifully, with hints dropped throughout the story that led you in all different directions. There was a little bit of everything in this book: suspense, intrigue, love, loss, fantasy, friendship, struggle. There were lots of twists and turns as the story unfolded and secrets were revealed. When it was all brought together in the end, I was not expecting it to turn out the way it did. I love being surprised and I most definately was! I highly recommend picking this book up, and I can’t wait for the next book!