Verdict: THE JESTIVAN is an intriguing beginning to a new series, with a fascinating set of worlds, characters, and plotlines to explore.
A team of young adults from the Five Kingdoms of the Light Realm must unite and train to face a great danger.
The world of Kuki Sphaira is made up of ten kingdoms, five light and five dark. Bryson LeAnce, of the Light Realm’s Intel Kingdom, is the son of a great hero, but has yet to master the talents of his Kingdom – mind and electricity. Nonetheless, he has been chosen to be part of an elite group, the Jestivan, made up of two members from each of the five Light Realm kingdoms. The Jestivan have been formed after many years of inactivity, to protect the Light Realm from a dangerous threat emerging from the Dark Realm. But when one team member’s powers get out of hand, another is kidnapped, and two Light Realms teeter on the brink of war with each other, things begin to get out of hand. Can the Jestivan find their gifts, rescue their friends, and avert the threats to their world?
THE JESTIVAN is an intriguing novel set in a thoughtfully-designed context. The kingdoms and their people are presented with the color and attention to detail so essential for good world-building. The author’s creativity shines when it comes to character development – the book is full of memorable personalities, including a girl who depends on her telepathic feline hat MeowMeow for her emotional expression, a foster-father figure with mysterious secrets, and a Prince who wants to bring his dead father back to life. However, while much does get revealed as the story goes on, there’s a lot that remains unexplained about the origins and nature of Kuki Sphaira and its history – hopefully the next book will add a bit of useful background to give the story more context. The writing is a bit awkward in places, too: “My daughter will not portray flirtatious mannerisms with another woman,” for example – but not enough to seriously disturb the flow of the story.
THE JESTIVAN is an intriguing beginning to a new series, with a fascinating set of worlds, characters, and plotlines to explore.