This was an nice take on melding magic with the modern world. I enjoyed how the author kept the story light enough to feel fun but not so much as to distract from the bigger issues. Their writing kept me engaged throughout the whole book.
The Emergence Duology, 1
A teenage runaway, New Orleans, 90s alt ballads, and emerging magical powers—this summer is shaping up to be anything but normal.
16-year-old Miranda Stone wants to be a typical teenager, but when she, and women around the globe, develop magical powers, typical flies right out the window.
Miranda, feeling like danger could be lurking, runs away to New Orleans. New friendships and a job singing as the opener for a drag show, reveal to her how fun life can be. When her friends begin to develop their own powers, and the world erupts, staying off the authorities’ radar becomes more difficult. An unforeseen romance with a young woman compounds the complications. Bittersweet, real, and humorous, this novel is an exploration of love, found family, and how the world might react to supernaturally powerful women.
16+ due to sexuality and adult situations
When Neeta raised her right hand, her left still clutched around the stem of her martini glass, the light came. It came bright and fierce. From her left hand, the blue curled around the clear stem of the glass like flame licking its way around a log in a bonfire. At the same time, energy pulsed from her right hand with such force that it blew out the florescent light directly over our heads. The second the light blew, the martini glass shattered in a brilliant explosion of luminescence and deadly shard.
There were screams as Ash slid under the table. She tried pulling me down with her, but I sat still as a statue, Billie’s claw-like nails tearing into my thigh. I didn’t even move her hand, just covered it with my own. The pain kept me grounded in the moment.
The three bikers stood on the other end of the bar, behind the pool table, eyes wide and hairy mouths slack. They stared right at Neeta.
Everyone was still for a beat. Then the biker who complained about the music, still staring at Neeta, reached out a hand, pulling on the leather sleeve of his friend. “She’s one of those witches.”
Until that moment, I’d felt as if I was in some sort of mental fog, the kind you feel after a traumatic brain injury, the kind that messes with your mental processing. But when the man uttered that word, my right hand shot out, across Billie, grabbing Neeta’s still glowing hand now bleeding from the broken glass. My fingers slipped through hers, blood making it hard to grip her flesh.
Neeta stared at the men, fire behind her gaze.
Ash cowered under the table at my feet as Billie never once released her unrelenting grip on my leg.
“We have to go. Now,” I hissed through clenched teeth. “Neeta.” I tried shaking her, to make her look at me, to break the spell.
It was then I heard Joey laugh. While I was focused on everyone else, he had moved from behind the bar and was inches from our table. “Witches. Only locals would say something like that. I have problems with these lights all the time. Shoot, every building in the Quarter has this happen from time to time.”
He stretched out a hand to Neeta. “The only important thing is that no one was seriously hurt. Here, Neeta.” Joey handed her a clean towel he had dangling over his shoulder. “For your hand.”
The bikers edged toward the door. They weren’t buying it. The first thing they would do after bolting from the bar would be to run straight to the authorities.
“Billie.” There was a forcefulness to Joey’s voice that I immediately respected. “Miranda is right. You four need to go.”
Letting go of Neeta’s blood-soaked hand, I pushed Billie, and Neeta, toward Joey with the other. “Go,” I yelled in Billie’s ear, and that got her moving.
Neeta slid out of the booth and onto the floor. Joey helped Billie off the seat. He held onto her while I got Neeta up and dragged Ash from under the table, both of my hands now slick with Neeta’s blood. I didn’t even take the time to wipe them off.
Neeta had come to her senses and was wrapping her hand with the towel.
With my arm around Ash’s waist, I headed toward the door.
“Not that way,” Joey said from behind me. “You won’t make it far.”
It felt like a stone had fallen to the bottom of my stomach.
“Out the back.”
I turned around, Ash breathing in my ear like she had just run a marathon.
“Those guys aren’t regulars,” Joey said as he walked ahead, Billie wrapped around him like Ash was wrapped around me. “They won’t be able to identify you, and they won’t be able to say for sure that I know you all, which of course, I’ll deny. Never seen you before in my life. Another bonus is that we don’t have security cameras in here. Well, we do, but they haven’t recorded in a decade. How far is your car?”
“Only two blocks,” Neeta said behind me. “We’ll make it.”
Would we? I didn’t want to voice this out loud, but I was skeptical.
Joey seemed to read my mind because when we got to the back door, he draped a jacket around Neeta’s shoulders. Then he grabbed a baseball cap off a hook and put it on Billie’s bright blonde head. “Don’t go together. Go two at a time, since they’ll be looking for four women. Make sure you smile and appear as normal as possible.”
I wasn’t sure smiling would help, but I understood what Joey was trying to convey. “Billie, you and Neeta go. Ash and I will be two minutes behind you.”
Billie, bolstered by Joey’s confidence, nodded. She reached up on her tip toes, kissed Joey once on the lips, then took Neeta’s uninjured hand. They disappeared into the back alley.
I glanced up at Joey. “Thank you for helping us. I can’t tell you what it means.” It was true, I couldn’t. From what the news had made me believe, everyone was to be feared. Especially anyone male.
“I don’t buy into any of this propaganda bullshit. The women who have developed these powers, they’re not an enemy. I may not know any of you that well, but I know that.”
Thankx to Netgalley and Evernight Tern for the opportunity to read A. D. Brazesu's book. I loved it and can't wait for #2!
Loved this book from start to finish. One of my few 5 stars this year. Fantasy is hands down my favorite genre and so I was looking forward to this book being fantasy and having LGBTQ+ representation. One thing I liked about this book was how magic was sprinkled into the story that focused on Miranda's everyday life struggles with magic just being one of the struggles. The growth of Miranda throughout the story was very organic and made her feel like a real 16 year old out on her own that the reader could relate to. The friendships that grow within this book are very relatable with the ups and downs that every friendship goes through. The relationship between Miranda and Ash is beautiful without being over the top that you sometimes see in books. I can't wait to read the next book and follow the story of Miranda and friends!
this was a great start to the Emergence Duology series, it does what I was hoping for from the description. The characters did a great job in being real people and I was glad that I was hooked from start to finish. I really enjoyed what I read and can't wait to read more from the author.
Imagine if all of us women woke up one day with magical powers. THE angry youth will definitely treat this ability differently than the other women. A bit Handmaid's Tale, a whole lot of "burn then a the stake" and some "Go ask Alice." Remember that classic? Miranda is already feeling misunderstood and lost...will the powers of her new found magic AND the magic that IS the city of New Orleans help her OR drive her further away from all she knows. This is a delightful YA read as it hits all the important notes -being misunderstood -learning the difference between blood family vs. found family -s3xual discovery -coming of age -making peace with your true self -MAGIC!
I really enjoyed the characters in this book. Miranda is a naive 16 year old that has lived a sheltered life. So when magic unexpectedly manifests she is not ready. Miranda does a lot of growing up in the short amount of time this story takes place. This was very much an intro with a promise of great things to come from our wonderful strong female characters.
A bisexual singer, a gay girl bartender and a straight escort are in a bar... Females around the world are coming into a power that frightens the ignorant. Seemingly random in its appearance, a smart teen goes on the run from her biological family finding a new, eclectic family on her way. Danger lurks at every turn, but amongst the chaos is love, safety and hope. Easily a stand alone book or a first in a series, this is a well written, sometimes tensly plotted story of a young girl navigating very dangerous waters.
When a normal boring world turns magical everything for Miranda changes. Coming from a conservative family, Miranda takes her chances with her newly found powers and runs away to become a singer. A plan that seems fair enough until she realizes this is happening to lots of people around the world and results are devastating as they are being taken. This was such a page turner for me. I loved the struggle and conflict Miranda faces and makes her character feel relatable. I received a free copy of this book via Evernight Teen and am voluntarily leaving a review.
What a lovely read! I was hooked from the very beginning of this YA Fantasy! Reading about 16-year-old runaway Miranda and her navigating the big world outside of her conservative parent's bubble was simply delightful in every way. A great coming of age story mixed with love, found family, witches & magic. And Queer representation! I appreciate how much time has been put into crafting the characters. They're all great, believable and unique in their own way. Nothing to complain about, at all. So why isn't this a 5 star read for me? I would have loved more insight in the magic system. The whole story revolves around Miranda developing these magical powers and how her whole life is turned upside down because of it, but we barely get the chance to understand what it entails. This might have been done of purpose by the author, but I was so intrigued by this story that I simply longed to get more information. And at just over 200 pages, Brazeau could definitely have added some more information. But maybe it's just me being greedy :) I'm very much looking forward to reading the second book in this duology! Thank you so much to Netgalley and Evernight Teen for sending me an eARC ahead of publication in exchange for an honest review!
I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review. This was a delight. Miranda is a fun protagonist and the author does a great job of helping the reader feel the real vibrancy of New Orleans. Miranda lives in a world where magic (or powers, or abilities, or SOMETHING) has suddenly come alive in the hands of young women. Miranda is one of those women and runs away from her religious family, not knowing if they will help her to try it out on her own in New Orleans. She quickly makes a handful of friends in Netta and Billie, who are fun and heartwarming conspirators even in a quick period of time. Miranda also meets two love interests, and her choice between them as a bisexual young woman is a fun background throughout the book. Given her powers, her runaway status and her burgeoning queer love life the author does a good job of recreating that feeling of adolescence where EVERYTHING matters and its hard to figure out what is a good decision as you are weighing things against each other. My major issue with the book is that I am not sure who the target demographic is which made it hard for me to fit some pieces together. The writing and characters felt too simplistic for a reader older than Miranda's sixteen years, but some of the topics felt like they would be hard to share with someone who was 12 or 13 - most pressingly the complicated issue of sex work as well as the lived reality of domestic violence. As a smaller nit, given the serious weight of some of these issues I was slightly annoyed when our protagonist declares her love for someone after only a handful of encounters - it felt like a juvenile response in the midst of weight topics and added to my confusion about the target age. However, I breezed through the book and after I finished, I am excited to see where the story goes in the second part as we definitely end on a strong (and intriguing) cliffhanger.
I received an ARC of this book from NetGalley. Book comes out 21 Oct 2022. As I’ve said a few times now, I love fantasy novels, so I was excited to read about Miranda Stone. I loved meeting her and all her friends. For me, having the book set in New Orleans seemed to add to the magical aspect of the story. I love watching her grow to trust the people around her and grow as a person. The parallels with the Salem witch trials for me was an interesting touch. I wonder where the author will go with that in the second book. The one thing that bothered me was the book was a little slow, but as it is part of a duology, I will forgive that. All in all, a light, fun read. Will I read more from A.D. Brazeau? Yes, this was a good read. Will I read the next book? Yes, all my questions are not answered.