Review: The Secrets of Yashire by Diamante Lavendar

secrets-of-yashire-cover

2-stars

Rating: 2 Stars

The main character, Brianna, finds herself thrown into a world called Yashire where she is forced to deal with circumstances that are threatening Yashire’s existence. Against her will, she is sent on a journey to restore unconditional love back to the land while also contending with the evil force in the land, Zolan . . . Along the way, Brianna travels with the mystical tiger, Angelos; a huge, whitish-tan tiger with thick black stripes who sings only the purest songs of love, and the wondrous little one-eyed bird named Abiba. . . they travel through fantastic lands filled with magical creatures that could only exist in the wildest of imaginations. . . It is here, amidst the powers and phantasms of the mind that Brianna receives life lessons and virtues to help her. Will one of her greatest triumphs be achieved as she learns to believe in herself? For only then can she truly see all of the wondrous things that life has to offer.

Disclaimers:

  1. I received The Secrets of Yashire from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
  2. This is by no means an attack on the author. She had an imaginative premise and was brave enough to publish this book on her own. 

Even this novel’s summary needs serious work. It was about twice as long as the one you see here. I had to cut it down in the interest of retaining a short and sweet review.

I didn’t know that The Secrets of Yashire was a CreateSpace work until I investigated its Goodreads page more closely, particularly due to my complete disbelief that a book like this could be backed by any serious publisher. It wasn’t.

I do believe that self-published books have merit, but for the most part, they’re novels that aren’t ready for the market. A writer has every right to make his or her work public. But don’t expect glowing reviews or media attention because you’re most likely waving around a first draft with underdeveloped characters and a black void for a plot.

Remember that I’m simply a chick who likes to read and has an opinion. It’s just that: an opinion.

I wanted to honor my commitment, so I continued reading even when absolutely nothing happened 75% into this damn book. I had to force myself through Yashire and wanted nothing more than to hit myself with my iPad while doing so.

These are my personal preferences talking; I think that someone younger could benefit from reading such a novel, if it were marketed to the middle-grade demographic.

You want the specifics? Here you go.

Short, Spoiler-Free Summary:

The Secrets of Yashire centers around a girl named Brianna who lives with sparring parents and a perpetual sense of teenage melancholy. She parties, skips class, and deceives her loved ones like a professional liar.

But one day, something changes, and she is transported from this world to… somewhere beyond the scope of Brianna’s imagination. To Yashire, a mystical land with centaurs, giant purple cats, gilled humanoids, and so many other strange creatures. Once there, she must embark on a series of quests to find her soulmate and to heal this once-peaceful land of its negativity and darkness.

The Skinny:

The writing style was flat and repetitive. The narration really didn’t help. Brianna’s thoughts are displayed in italics on almost every page, and this is basically just her talking to herself to tell (and not show) the readers what she’s thinking and doing at all times. No one thinks like that.

I’m happy I’m feeling better today. Yesterday sucked.

Home sweet home.

This is fun!

Even more irritatingly, redundant dialogue often sprouts up immediately after Brianna’s thought processes.

Her companions are a vegetarian tiger who sings songs of love and a one-eyed bird who happens to be an extreme know-it-all. Multiple scenes consist of the tiger singing at her (LOVINGLY, of course) and the bird telling her another fact about Yashire but really just telling the readers to lazily give them more useless information.

Some of Yashire’s residents were intriguing in their descriptions, but they quickly fell into cliches and stereotypes: native tribes, country farmers, a king and his royal subjects, etc. It’s a fantastical world that’s filled with not-so-fantastical personalities.

You can say that this creature is grand and huge and purple or green and alien-like and weird, but is it really all that wonderful when you’ve seen this character type and dialogue before? No matter what a character looks like, the personality will determine whether or not he or she is truly unique.

The ending consisted of the most disappointing conclusion that I’ve ever read. Like, ever.

I realize that Ms. Lavendar wanted to create something great. I can see the roots of such a world, but Yashire is not even halfway finished.

Now, there were a few valuable themes in this novel. Life lessons are discussed involving the importance of not taking someone for granted, having patience, etc. The Secrets of Yashire possesses a positive morale and features family-friendly content. Although I found the writing flat and overly simplistic, this could be a boon to younger readers. I think someone as young as 8 could understand and might appreciate this book.

If it were fixed up, sold to a traditional publishing house, and marketed towards a younger demographic, then this novel could have a real chance at success.

I think that The Secrets of Yashire could be a decent gift for a preteen or elementary-aged child; younger readers can escape into an easy-to-understand world with a positive message and cool vegetarian tigers. However, older readers might want to skip out on this one.

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