Book Review: The Perfect Mortals

So let’s get a couple of things out of the way right up front. The last line of the email asking me to review this book made a fleeing mention of the fact that the author is only seventeen. When I finished the book, I had to go back and find that email again because I could not believe that a seventeen year old could craft such an epic and rich story. But there it was. Seventeen. Wow.


Next thing we need to get out of the way is a particular peculiarity with how I go about reviews. This is my first book review for Author Alliance and since most (if not all) of you won’t know me, here’s how I operate. Every book I read starts at at 5 stars. Every single one. I love to read. Not only do I love to read, but I love to read just about every genre and style. I’m not overly hot on historical fiction, but I’ll read pretty much everything else.


Books lose stars for a number of things:

* Poor grammar – half a star

* Poor editing (particularly copy editing,  misspellings, punctuation) – one star

* Plot holes – one or two stars depending on how serious the plot hole is. If we’re talking a character failing to save the world because they forgot they were carrying a cell phone to call and alert the National Guard of impending doom, two stars. If we’re talking ignoring the fact that the character’s been talking on their cell phone for two days and the battery hasn’t run out, one star.


I won’t take away a star for an unsatisfying ending or one I didn’t like. If it’s a romance and the guy doesn’t get the girl at the end, I might not be happy, and I’ll mention it, but I won’t take away a star for that.


Now that I’ve said all of that, let me tell you that Buan: The Perfect Mortals lost no stars whatsoever. There were a few minor issues, issues that might possibly all add up to me taking away a quarter of a star if I was asked to be 100% accurate, but nothing so significant as even half a star.


I will warn you that the book doesn’t end with everything all wrapped up in a bow. It’s a multi-book story arc, so be prepared. That said, the ending of the book comes at a perfect time in the story. I’m very much looking forward to reading the next book in the series.


Four siblings are chosen by the Goddess Luxa to receive Bua, special powers and abilities that allow them to fight against evil. Each Bua is different and tailored to the person receiving it. Each one of the siblings is part of a perfect human. There is strength (Alexander), knowledge (Weylan), spirit (Fantasia) and soul (Aurelia). I found the descriptions of these Bua rich and thrilling. The Bua manifest themselves after a dream and I found myself anxiously waiting for each sibling to experience their dreams so we could see what their Bua was and how they would use it.


These characters are all richly developed. Each of the four siblings has their own unique qualities (along with their Bua) and their guardian, Orion, has layers upon layers that we have not even begun to see yet. The “big bad” of the book is not revealed too early, or even talked about a lot, which leaves a lot of different places that I could see the story going in the next book.


Even the minor characters are well developed and interesting. I want to know more of Madame Asa and the bar owner. I want to know more about the story behind the Harmon parents’ death. I suspect that just about every possible plot point that was mentioned actually is important, and that bit of craft is very impressive, particularly for a first novel.


So onto the minor issues (because there are always issues):


There were a few times throughout the book when the author’s age did show through. Not in poor writing, but in her characters trivializing some of the serious issues they are facing. I won’t spoil any of the action, but picture this type of scene.


Seventeen year old girl discovers that the world is about to end. She’s kind of sarcastic about it, flippant (all actions that a 17 year old is totally capable of), but after her brother says something to her, her attitude suddenly changes to one of relaxed happiness. That to me didn’t always play overly well. I felt like she wouldn’t have been so happy, even at seventeen.


The world feels both new and old at the same time. There are no cars or even bicycles, and carts are described several times. Yet there is also coffee. Coffee has been around for quite some time, but it was an unexpected drink to hear about after we watched the siblings walk through monster infested woods to get to town.


The only other issue I had with this book surrounded the POV (point-of-view) shifts. From time to time, the book shifts from one sibling’s perspective to another. That’s just fine. However, a few times during these shifts, there’s some repetitive dialog or action description that could easily have been eliminated. We just learned that Fantasia said XYZ and did ABC. When we shift from Fantasia’s perspective to Alexander’s, we don’t need to hear Fantasia say XYZ again. However, these repetitive bits of scenes were very short and only happened a few times. So overall, a very minor issue.

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