by Liz Long
Series: Donovan Circus #1
Published on April 18, 2012 by Createspace
Genres: Urban Fantasy, Young Adult
Even in a world of freaks, being a Firestarter is considered a dangerous Gift.
Lucy was born with the ability to create and control fire. She longs to leave the human world for one filled with Earthshakers, Transporters, and Chameleons, to name a few. When she rejoins the circus, it’s everything she hoped it could be—new friends, a potential love interest or two, and a place where she can be herself.
When troupe members begin turning up dead, however, Lucy is suspected of foul play. She must not only prove her innocence but also realize the full extent of her power. To find the real murderer, she must uncover the truth behind her father’s fiery legacy while figuring out whom to trust within her new circle. Little does she know the history of the Donovan Circus and its enemies might actually destroy the entire gifted world.
When I started Gifted, I struggled to get hooked. There wasn’t that attention grabber in the first few pages that I usually look for–but I kept reading. Some of the dialogue was a tad stiff and seemed awkward and I wondered if I would leave the book unfinished. I was about a third of the way through the book when it all came together for me.
The characters were very well developed throughout the novel and there weren’t huge info-dumps. Instead, I learned something new about each of the characters with each interaction. I especially connected with Lucy, the protagonist. She knew who she was and she had flaws. In other words, Lucy was human (well, as human as a Firestarter can be). I could predict what she would and wouldn’t do because I could understand her personality. The characters weren’t the only good part, as the plot twists really kept me hooked. I didn’t want my favorite character to be next or to be the villain so I had to keep reading. With each page, the mystery thickened and I couldn’t put it down. I read almost all of the novel within one sitting, only pausing for something important.
By the end of Gifted, I wanted more. I wanted to keep reading. The fact that there wasn’t a sequel meant only one thing for me: I’d be re-reading it soon. It was a rough start but in the end Gifted proved to be an excellent story and definitely worth the time and patience. I’ll be keeping an eye on Liz Long for more Donovan Circus novels.