As a contributor for Amazing Stories, one of the most gratifying experiences is being able to acquaint with new writers to a vast number of fandom members. These types of introductions can help the writer gain recognition and build a loyal fan base. But just as valuable, it also opens readers to the growing crop of creative minds we might not have heard of otherwise.
This week, I had the opportunity to read the soon to be released book Down the Wormhole by Ana Franco. This is an ambitious first installment to a complex, imaginative and often unpredictable young adult fantasy story. Franco takes on the daunting task of combining the angst of modern day teenagers and mixing it with the magic and chaos of familiar mythological characters.
Kitty is a seventeen year old spending the waning days of her childhood at an all-girls orphanage. This is precariously located right across the street from an all-boys orphanage. Now whoever the headmaster was who decided this was a good idea should have been fired. A small street will not be able to keep kids in their sexual prime away from each other. And when the reader discovers that some of these kids are notable gods from mythology that we’ve often read about, it comes as no surprise that the gap between schools is soon shortened by an enchanted bridge.
Throw in a plot twisted with deceit, revenge, a magical bracelet, and a wormhole leading to the land of gods, and you have an enticing journey. Oh, and there is also the gratuitous love story many young readers seem to expect.
The characters are as multifaceted as the story itself. We see them as young people struggling with the social awkwardness and familiar modern problems, but we also see them as young gods full of entitlement and hubris. Sometimes these two varying elements become conflicting as the reader tries to distinguish which persona the character is supposed to represent. Is this a kid or a god? Hopefully these contradictions will be addressed more closely in later books.
The title Down the Wormhole is an appropriate play on the rabbit-hole familiar to fans of Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland. But it’s obvious Franco was influenced by other works in her writing and the mythological details she displayed shows she is definitely knowledgeable about the subject. This is always a plus when working with such an array of complex characters.
The edition reviewed here was an advanced reader copy with typical editorial mistakes, but the overall work was entertaining and shows potential for a successful work of young adult fantasy when the polished edition comes out later. There is some language and sexual content that may be offensive to the younger young adults, but don’t let that stop you. The content is typical for the age of the characters and helps give the story believability.
Down the Wormhole will be released by French Press Bookworks though Amazon on March 17, 2015. Other eBook formats will be available at a later date. Author Ana Franco can also be found writing at Ana is the Bookworm.