Kevin Nielsen is a friend of mine from LTUE and the Utah writing community. He recently put out a novel, the first in a YA series through a local small press based in Provo called Future House Publishing, and I’ve been eager to pick it up. I loved this book, and I’m very excited to talk about it on the blog today.
In Sands, a young girl named Lhaurel has a stubborn, independent nature that often gets her into trouble when her free spirit clashes with her clan’s strict gender-role traditions. They live in a harsh, sandy desert landscape ruled by chauvinism and volatile inter-clan conflicts. When she commits a desperate act of rebellion–taking up a sword, as a woman, to save her friend’s life–her clan leaves her behind as food fodder for giant sand serpents called “genesauri” (which may or may not have been bioengineered to thwart an enemy of war in the not-so-distant past). An egalitarian clan of mystics has been watching her for many years and rescues her from this terrible fate to train in swordsmanship and break into her own powers. As things progress, it becomes clear that something, or someone, has triggered an early migration of genesauri and may be drawing them toward a barrier of magnetic rock surrounding an oasis that normally repulses them–toward the clans gathering there for refuge. And Lhaurel’s abilities make her something far more powerful and dangerous than what any of the other mystics first anticipated.
Nielsen has created an intriguing magical post-apocalyptic universe through the eyes of a strong female character, beautiful descriptions, well-placed action, and wholesome storytelling. Sands is a delightful adventure. The audiobook narrator, Tanya Eby, was a perfect fit for voicing the characters in this book and wonderful to listen to. I thoroughly enjoyed this book and the audio narration, and I highly recommend it!
You can check out Sands here at Audible: http://www.audible.com/pd/Teens/Sands-Audiobook/B01B8JLXRK
Or here on Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B012CB4S66
Or here at Barnes and Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/sands-kevin-l-nielsen/1122630603.
His second book, Storms, is also available here: http://www.amazon.com/Storms-Sharani-Book-Kevin-Nielsen-ebook/dp/B019X32RZU.