The Author Visits Reviews Vivatera

Vivatera Book Cover Vivatera
Vivatera (Book #1)
Candace Thomas
Young Adult Fantasy
Xchyler Publishing
April 13, 2013

Not even Naomi's prophetic dreams prepare her for the mysterious wanderer who appears just in time to snatch her from danger-nor the upheaval he brings in his wake. No knight in shining armor, Reynolds once risked Naomi's life, and that dark secret again threatens it. When Naomi discovers the world of magic and of what she is capable, not even Reynolds can slow the fate barreling down upon them both.

Vivatera is the first book in the Vivatera series by Candace Thomas. A young adult fantasy, Vivatera is fueled with unique magic weaved into a story that is series of mysterious twists and turns.

Naomi lives a humble life. After the death of her guardian Malindra, she lives with a farmer, taking care of his young son Zander. On an ordinary day in the market, something extraordinary happens. The sight of a young woman with a similar mark on her neck captures Naomi’s attention and as she moves through the crowd to get a better look at the Prince’s companion, she becomes the target of his guards.

In sweeps the handsome Reynolds who saves Naomi and takes great pains to bring her safely to a small encampment where other’s like her, girls and boys with magic live and practice strengthening their unusual gifts.

Reynolds disappears after leaving Naomi at the camp and there she meets Katia, Michah and Landon and the four form a friendship.

As Naomi tries to uncover the core of her magic, she becomes the central attraction for those around her which is both a good and bad thing. The magic is two-fold, inherent within the wielder and supplemented by the use of stones that is special and the catalyst for Naomi’s troubles. Then Naomi dreams of Reynolds and realizes he is in trouble. From that point, the story unfolds at a quick pace. Secrets about Naomi, her past, her family and the core of her magic are revealed.

Thomas is a nimble writer with a creative flair for storytelling. The world building is central and sometimes eclipses the character development. As the main character, I wanted Naomi to exude more passion, desperate determination and angst. In simpler terms, I wanted to see a more dimensional character driven by her feelings, which needed to be more pronounced and less topical.

I wasn’t quite convinced of Naomi’s motivation to search for and save Reynolds. The investment in the development of the ancillary characters was better done than our protagonist.

The pacing of the story began a bit on the slower side as Thomas got comfortable on the page but as soon as Naomi began her quest to find Reynolds was when the story took off and I read furiously until the end.

I also enjoyed the interaction between the quartet of friends as they embark on their journey of discovery. Something else I really appreciated was the movement between points of view, especially that of Zander. The symbiosis between Naomi’s storyline and Zander’s was integral to understanding the relationship between Naomi, her past and her future.

Thomas is a talented storyteller with a vivid imagination and I look forward to finishing Conjectrix, the next book in the series.

My rating: Four stars. There is plenty Vivatera has to offer as an initial offering to an exciting fantasy series. Light on romance but heavy on world building with an interesting strain of magic, Vivatera is an enjoyable read.

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The Author Visits Reviews Vivatera

Excerpt From Vivatera

Groups of twos and threes began forming as Aristatolis hobbled through the crowd, instructing each on methods and dynamics.

Katia bumped her in the shoulder. “Naomi, come partner with me.”

Naomi, who had decided not to join the exercise, shook her head, afraid of the monster inside her.

“We may need to know this, especially if we plan on . . . escaping.” Katia mouthed the ending.

Naomi thought about it. Katia did have a point. She would soon need better control of her magic, whether it was here or somewhere else.

“Please?” Katia bounced on her heels like a puppy.

Naomi looked to see if Lytte had joined the activities, but he hadn’t. Her insecurity escalated. She hadn’t warmed up with the others since her first day in the yard. The way Lytte taught differed greatly from the grand spectacle of the yard meditations: individuals shouting and pounding until the magic felt comfortable in the circulating air.

Naomi watched Katia doing her own outlandish meditations. It looked so silly, Naomi almost laughed, but kept it to herself.

To reach her magic, Naomi talked to it, found it inside her, and persuaded it to help. She discovered very early that her magic was specialized. It wouldn’t do everything she asked—it would not harm things, and it could not be used for destruction unless Naomi stood in harm’s way.

A thought occurred to her: maybe Katia needed the same kind of instruction. Maybe her magic didn’t like the way it awoke or was forced out. She wasn’t a boy, yet she had been trained like one. Naomi’s emotions controlled her magic. Maybe Katia’s needed to be reached in the same way.

Naomi interrupted the other girl’s concentration. “Katia? Have you ever tried talking to your magic?”

 “What are you talking about?” Katia laughed.

Naomi crouched down on the ground next to where Katia sat. “I want you to try and find your magic inside yourself.”

“I don’t know how to do that. Aristatolis taught me to channel it through movement.”

“Trust me,” Naomi said again. “Close your eyes and see if you can find it.”

“Okay. I’ll try.”

Naomi sat cross-legged across from her and settled Katia’s hands together, pointing up. “Relax. Close your eyes and tell me what you can see.”

Katia did as instructed. “What am I supposed to be seeing?”

“The magic is hiding somewhere inside. Can you find it?”

Katia wiggled her shoulders and tried again. She sighed a few times with no progress.

Naomi could sense Katia’s frustration. Her emotions were always so close to the surface. Naomi looked at her friend’s face and saw the tears forming. Come on, she urged. It’s near the surface. Naomi reached over and placed her palm on the top of Katia’s hands.

Then it happened—a flash of light, blinding—before it disappeared.

Katia opened her eyes, surprised. “Whoa! I saw it!”

Naomi, still touching her hands, pulled back. “So did I. Was that supposed to happen?”

“I have no idea.”

“Channel again.” This time Naomi did not touch her. “Do you need my help?”

Katia closed her eyes again, searching. Moments passed with nothing happening. “Come on.”

She opened her eyes. “It won’t stay.”

“Ask it to stay.”

Katia seemed skeptical. “Like it’s a person?”

“Yes,” Naomi answered. “It’s alive and it wants to play. Ask it to stay, ask it what it wants. Be nice.”

After five good attempts, Katia made a connection with her magic. “I don’t know how to communicate.”

“Let me see if I can help.” Naomi hated seeing her friend struggle. “I will only support. It is your magic and needs to talk to you, not me. Understand?”

“Yes,” Katia whispered like a little girl.

Naomi rested her palms on Katia’s already cupped hands.

Behind her eyes sat her magic, waiting for her.

White, like endless fog drifting thickly around cool waters; its cool sting froze every fiber—numbed senses and tingled toes. It kissed the skin and lifted the hair on her arms and head.

The tears that threatened to come out did, and stained her face, stinging with the coolness of the air. The magic, excited by the emotion, swirled happily in a blizzarding wind.

The movement took Katia aback, but Naomi’s hands tightened and urged her to continue.

Speak, Naomi instructed through her magic.

Katia calmed herself. “Thank you.”

The mist seemed to smile, though thick and shapeless. It swirled again, playfully, not threatening. Katia seemed to enjoy it. “You want to play?”

Naomi’s magic stood near the back, watching as a welcomed guest. The coolness encircled Katia and kissed her lightly on the cheek.

Katia’s expression showed she couldn’t believe it. “What should we play?”

The mist danced lightly through her hair and back down to the tip of her nose.

“Will you show me?”

The mist swirled away from her again, happy and smiling.

Naomi opened her eyes and saw Katia’s tears on her face, forming small crystals. “So, what do we do?”

“Let it show us.”

Katia began rubbing her hands as she always had. A light formed instantly and crystals crept from her fingertips, lacing an intricate pattern. Snowflake shapes formed and grew, weaving in and out and becoming more recognizable: legs and a body and a head. A face with wonderful, glassy eyes and soft flowing features, smiled. The woman was beautiful.

The sounds in the yard had stopped, all attention on the mesmerizing sight of the lady of ice emerging from the tips of Katia’s fingers.

She stood before Katia, beaming with happiness, her eyes focused only on her; nothing and no one else existed. She mouthed, “Thank you,” silently as she stretched and moved her gently flowing limbs.

Katia’s tears kept flowing, washing some of the crystals away.

The Ice Queen moved gracefully, twirling and playfully lifting the sweeping dress Katia had created, seeming pleased with the air and the beauty of the world, like a young child tasting snowflakes for the first time.

The dance lasted but a moment before she bent low and kissed Katia on her forehead. The Ice Queen shattered at the touch and fell into a million crystals, showering both Katia and Naomi with tiny ice shards. Silence hovered for a few seconds before the boys began clapping with excitement.

Landon rushed over. “Amazing. How . . . It’s so different.” Seemingly at a loss, he hugged Katia, then immediately let go, embarrassed. “Uh, good job,” he said, and quickly walked away.

Micah rushed right behind. “Katia! The earth smiles in delight of the life you have made.”

Naomi blinked a few times before brushing the ice from her body. She was surprised. First, at what she had witnessed and second, that she had been right about the magic. Katia needed to understand it on an emotional level.

Katia smiled wickedly. “You were right, you know,” she called to Landon.

Landon grimaced. “What are you talking about?”

She laughed. “I do freeze with my feelings.”

About Candace

Candace Thomas

Candace was born and raised in Utah, where she experienced a unique upbringing in a small country town.

Candace J. Thomas started scripting parodies of plays at a young age and had dreams of becoming a playwright. This led to her studying theater and creative writing at the University of Utah. She is the winner of the Diamond Award for Novel of the Year for VIVATERA, published by Xchyler Publishing, April 2013. She has also been featured in the fantasy anthology MOMENTS IN MILLENNIA. CONJECTRIX, Book 2 of the VIVATERA series, was completed in April, 2014.

When not writing, Candie loves anything that expands her imagination, especially if it’s nerdy or geek-worthy. Her lifelong goal is to one day have a convincing British accent. She lives in Salt Lake City, Utah, with her husband, two girls, and tailless cat.

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