Sagga Publishing House LLC

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By Mary Romasanta

IR Rating:
An intense page-turner, AVĪCI SAGGA by Mary Romasanta tosses around excellent plot-twists in a compelling, absorbing reading experience from beginning to end.
IR Approved
A young woman tormented by nightmares that feature her ex-boyfriends seeks the help of a renowned psychiatrist and uncovers a shocking truth buried deep in her family’s lore.

Emma Perales is at the end of her rope when she meets Dr. Edward Clark, a psychiatrist who specializes in the connection between dreams, the human psyche, and the brain. Restless, tormented, and malnourished, Emma is plagued nightly by vivid dreams about her seven ex-boyfriends. As Emma learns more about the science of dreams and reveals her past, she feels she’s quickly losing a race against time before something catastrophic happens. When a shocking revelation is brought to light, Emma and Dr. Clark must blur the lines between science and the supernatural to save her life.

AVĪCI SAGGA, as author Mary Romasanta explains in the preface, refers to the dichotomy between heaven and hell—a duality that runs through the heart of Emma’s story. Romasanta’s own experiences influence the novel, and that knowledge helps to create an authenticity to Emma’s voice, her father’s work as a pastor, and the thrilling biblical mythology that drives this winding plot forward. Mexican culture and brujería add another unique layer to the book, as the revelations in Emma’s life become more connected to her current troubles.

The author’s research in regards to certain neurological conditions, treatments, sleep studies, sleep training, and oneirology is truly one of the most immersive and interesting aspects of the novel. The science behind dreaming and fear-based nightmares—and how the brain can be rewired according to trauma—that Emma learns is just as fascinating as her long string of horrible boyfriends.

Emma and Dr. Clark have a patient-doctor chemistry that jumps right off the page from their first meeting. Emma’s no-nonsense, orderly persona clashes a bit with his easygoing style until the two find common ground. Their banter is enjoyable. “You’re not even going to acknowledge the accuracy of my assessment?” Dr. Clark asks during their first session. “No, I’m not going to feed your already over-inflated ego,” Emma quips.

That they eventually enjoy learning from each other is fun to explore as their bond grows. Emma’s lifelong relationship with her best friend Brianna offers heartfelt, and often emotional, moments of vulnerability. And her complex but loving backstory with her parents—especially her father—shows not everything is as it seems; not everything is simple or straightforward. Like dreams, people are complicated. As with the duality of heaven and hell, there’s also this interesting duality of chaos and order in Emma’s life. While everything else is falling apart, she tries to exert some kind of control through organization and documentation.

As the line between science and the supernatural becomes blurred, AVĪCI SAGGA builds some edge-of-your seat tension with short, effective chapters and a heavy dose of suspense. One small gripe is that there are some editing errors: in a few passages, quotation marks are missing, so it’s a little hard to decipher prose from dialogue; a chunk of dialogue is repeated in the same paragraph; and there are many repetitious character actions. Most noticeable are “his eyes widened” and “her eyes bulged”—often used to describe characters’ reactions.

The novel is fast-paced, and although it does rush quickly through the climax and resolution, the twists that are tossed into the plot are of the jaw-dropping, throw-the-book-across-the-room (in a good way) variety. It’s so much fun when all of those little details come together to create such a compelling, absorbing reading experience.

An intense page-turner, AVĪCI SAGGA by Mary Romasanta tosses around excellent plot-twists in a compelling, absorbing reading experience from beginning to end.

~Jessica Thomas for IndieReader

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