Two factions of an alien species are on the brink of war in the sequel to Britta Jensen’s young adult fantasy, ELOIA BORN. HIRANA’S WAR brings all the unique magic, charming animal characters, and young love readers expect in a follow-up. It continues the story of Leanora Tela, a young healer with the rare magical ability of a “binary traveler,” who has just found relative safety with her parents following a grueling continental trek with her boyfriend, Tarrok.
But that ordeal was only a prelude to the coming war against the Yarats, a technologically enhanced people bent on destroying Leanora’s way of life and taking over her mother’s planet of Eloia. Even worse: they’re led by Zer, the man she always thought was her father. Thankfully, her magical ability can move legions across galaxies. It’s a game-changing advantage for the underdogs, but a harsh burden for a partially-sighted young woman devoted to healing, not bloodshed. For, in this universe, music is literally magic. Song can make people fly. Harps are weapons. Singing can heal wounds or cause them. But readers looking for the underlying details to this magic system will find it opaque, as the novel focuses on the what over the how. Similarly, the worlds’ advanced technology is only superficially explained, making for a missed opportunity to flesh out the world-building.
Well-edited and voiced in multiple first-person narratives, HIRANA’S WAR largely unfolds during Leanora’s battle training on the planet Hirana. Tarrok (who’s stuck back on Eloia) and fellow binary traveler Gulnaz (who reluctantly trains Leanora and hides a secret) also tell their sides of the story. This triple narrative provides character depth and captivating detail, but confusing transitions and an untethered sense of time perhaps undercut compelling action. HIRANA’S WAR has all the components and drama of a good YA novel, but nonetheless lacks the full dimensionality one might expect of an intergalactic fantasy narrative.
With unique magic and familiar characters facing new dangers, HIRANA’S WAR deftly continues the young adult space fantasy begun in ELOIA BORN, ably building on favorite themes established in the first installment of the duet.
~Remy Poore for IndieReader