- Building Action
- Climax and Falling Action
- Love Story
After a few successful short stories Faith A. Rice-Mills created this thrilling novel involving parallel dimensions, elemental control and “shifters,” the people who can move from one dimension to another. Fast paced and intriguing, Identified gives us a look at what a parallel dimension might actually look like if it came into contact with ours.
Like almost every great protagonist, Maya is a normal quiet teenager preparing to leave for college. She loves her family and her few friends and even deals with her slowly emerging feelings for her best friend Pete. It’s not until she’s attacked coming home from a graduation party that her life becomes so much more than normal. She learns that she is a shifter and can move between her home dimension on Earth to another dimension called Leets. Along with her new shifter team-mates she has the ability to control the four elements; earth, wind, water and fire, and the five senses; touch, taste, sound, sight and smell. She is faster and stronger than both earthlings and leetions and to top it off, she’s expected to do great things. Leets has been taken over by another shifter who looks now to attempt to conquer Earth too. However, there is a prophecy. A prophecy that supposedly says that Maya will one day have to (literally) choose a side in this war, and this action will be pivotal in bringing her ally to victory and ending the war.
Identified was a remarkably believable rendition of a parallel universe. While it wasn’t the overused “each time we make a choice someone in another dimension has made a different choice and there are endless possibilities of worlds,” it did take on more of a alien encounter vibe. The onyxes living in Leets are human-like with only a few tell-tale differences and they live a life similar but not exactly like the humans. Ms. Mills has created a world with the same physical rules and laws while giving it’s people different traits and motivations.
I also loved the way everything that needed to be explained was explained. There were no gaping holes in the story, it was easy to follow and well thought out. Ms. Rice-Mills has an exploratory way of explaining things so that every reader will understand. For example: when Maya decides to go after the prophecy and one of her best friends, Espy, tries to dissuade her from putting all of them in danger, especially her twin sister Luz, Maya returns with “I have a sister too, and a dad and a brother. And a mom out there somewhere. I didn’t ask Luz to go with me, but she is. And I’m going no matter what. Just like you, I have to protect my family.”
Identified was not predictable. While the general direction was easy to see – of course Maya will go find out what the prophecy says, don’t you want to know? – it was done in a way involving many more twists and turns than originally anticipated.
This reader’s only main complaint was the ending ended just a hair too soon. This was obviously to leave a cliff hanger and encourage the reader to wonder what comes next (and to buy the next book!) to which it did extremely well, but for me it felt like nothing was concluded. The climax appeared and ended on about the same page. Almost none of our questions have been answered, and very little is resolved.
Perhaps part of the reason why the ending was so suspenseful was because of the good characters that Identified is populated with. At first some of them blended together, but the characterization that happens as the book progresses is quite interesting and you can see that these people could be real people. By the end the reader find’s himself engaged in their lives and wondering who will survive. Lot’s of other reviewers have mentioned how they loved a specific character – the twins Epsy and Luz who are complete opposites, quiet Lamar or even Maya’s brother Carl – and hope that their favorites will feature in the next books.
Unique Reasons to Read
1. The ending is…painful, in a good way. The suspense it builds will have Ms. Rice-Mills second book sold out before she finishes writing it.
2. This was a great change in parallel dimension stories. Not the same old same old for once. I love reading old classics with a new twist and Identified was (for this sci-fie geek) just that.
3. Identified was fast paced, another one of those that you reach the end without realizing how close you were.