Possibilities is the pertinent, perfectly fitting word to Matilda Seer. As a group of orphan teenagers are thrust into another, surreal, welcoming and at once threatening universe, a lot become excitingly possible. But this is only the beginning.
As the teens are renamed and thus reborn into special to their new home, gifted beings, M.D. Allen introduces us to an imaginative new world of her own creation. Little by little, in attentive, affectionate detail the Inner Realm is revealed in (almost) all its marvelous expanses and nightmarish depths. From its luscious beaches, lakes and gardens, to the shady back alleys of its towns and the deathly darkness of the Black Mass Tunnels. From its imposing palaces, like Lord Rafe’s labyrinthine chambers to the enchanted cosines of the Quarry Cottage. From its extraordinary, heartwarming creatures, big and small, like its regal, wise trees or an unexpectedly brave rat, to the terrifying ones, such as the relentless Nighlings. And though the prospect for discovering and exploring further corners of the Inner Realm remains, this is an already well-thought and well-formed, engrossing world.
The same cannot be said for the characters of the Chosen or the relationships between them. But don’t get me wrong. As I said, possibilities is the key word and this is just the beginning. Everything is here, full of promise. The bones of all powerful, sometimes turbulent, yet solid and meaningful friendships – the ever present trope in YA literature by everyone from J.K. Rowling, Suzanne Collins and Richelle Mead, to Michael Grant and Philip Pullman – are definitely starting to form. So are the hints of an organically evolved, Yin and Yang of a romance in some of them, particularly between Matilda and Ethan. Concurrently questions about free will vs destiny are being asked, tricky, even painful dilemmas between personal and common responsibility arise, the lines between good and evil are more often than not blurred, and a discreet gender-blind narrative tendency becomes more and more discernible.
And even though at times there seems to be character obvious description instead of character implicit development, the main plot twist/revelation (of who is doing the tracking) eventually clarifies both the author’s intentions and some of her characters’ behaviours. After all Matilda Seer is too much of a comfortable and comforting read for anyone to linger on its misgivings. And its open ending, fertile with unanswered questions and yes, possibilities, makes you want to escape back to it and keep reading its next chapter/book, aptly titled The Door.
This was fist published on Discovery platform @ https://reedsy.com/discovery/user/ioanna-papageorgiou