It’s not every day I receive a book from the author herself, with a personalised message thanking me for my time. So, when Maxzell Lerm sent me her debut novel, Nevrhada (complete with a beautifully printed bookmark), I was very grateful and honoured.
The author’s poor health inspired this book, as she used fantasy to escape and cope with her unpleasant reality at the time. So, let me tell you a bit more about this fascinating read.
The story (without spoilers)
The first in a series, Nevrhada – Unveiling Secrets, is told from the perspective of Keith, a teenage boy whose life is uprooted when his parents get separated. His mother decides to make a clean break and leaves the United States for Spain – a grim prospect for the teenage boy who has to leave his friends, girlfriend and familiar surroundings behind. In Spain the family – Keith, his twin siblings and mother – settles in a home near a forest. And this is where the ordinariness ends. Because Keith, as uninterested as can be, has no clue what the new continent holds in store.
While exploring the forest with his loyal dog Duke, Keith uncovers a world unlike anything he’s ever seen – a world with neon surroundings; magnificent trees and plants with pulsating veins, to name just a few items in this brilliant environment. As if that’s not enough, he meets a breathtakingly beautiful woman with violet eyes, an intoxicating laugh, an unusual name and the ability to control minds. In the time that follows Deso and Keith spend a lot of time together, and the more their differences come to the surface, the stronger their common goal: to be with each other.
At school Keith meets the ever-popular and adventurous Clara. But when she invites him home to give him a ‘lotion’ for an injury, he discovers that there’s much more to Clara than meets the eye. He learns that Clara is also known as Indrani, and with that name comes special powers …
From my point of view
This is no ordinary novel. Think outside the box, then step a few feet away from the box. Nevrhada is an unpredictable story that kept me guessing as one surprise after the other unfolded. Just when you think the action has come to an end, something new and unexpected happens and more surprising creatures materialise. From phantoms to fairies, vampires and zombies – they are all here. And Keith finds himself in the middle of the chaos.
You can definitely expect the unexpected, such as creatures oozing sexuality, from Nevrhada: “The animal swayed seductively back and forth …” (when talking about the Fierian on p98), and “The female phantom turned around and coyly glanced at me without a word over her exposed shoulder (on p183)”.
The author writes vivid descriptions and uses many adjectives to describe the scenery, characters and developments in great detail. Being an experienced writer (Maxzell has written for various newspapers and magazines), she also boasts an impressive vocabulary. But for me her greatest skill is her rich and unrestricted imagination.
The only downside to this book is the fact that it seems … unedited. I came across numerous grammatical errors and basic spelling mistakes and it makes me wonder whether an editor or even a proofreader had a chance to read the manuscript before it went to print. It’s really unfortunate that even the book title is misspelled (as Nervhada) a number of times throughout the text.
However, if you’re looking for an exciting and different read that will challenge your imagination, Nevrhada – Unveiling Secrets, is the right book for you.
Publisher: Fire and Ice, an imprint of Melange Books, LLC
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PS. Special thanks to my sister who mentioned my blog to Maxzell.