A Book Review of an Urban Fantasy Novel Worth Reading

Book Review of
Choices–Make Me Paranormal: Book 1
by Cora Maxine

I have a fond place in my heart for urban fantasy, since it melds contemporary sensibilities with the traditional imagery and magical possibilities that makes fantasy so special. I may be biased when I say that I always place the story first, especially where fantasy is concerned, because it relies so much on a limitless imagination, which means the story can take you places where you’ve never been before. The human mind is a powerful force, and fantasy can set it free in ways that only science-fiction can also do, at least in my humble opinion. The thing that thrilled me the most about the popular Harry Potter series and the Lord of the Rings trilogy is that they inspired millions of older adults to set their minds free and be a bit childlike again. Choices does the same thing for me and it will for many other readers.
If you love a wide variety of food, as well as the culinary arts, then you will savor the author’s tasty descriptions of one food item after another and the way the central character relish’s having a man cook and prepare her meals. Maxine also takes the time to give the reader a clear picture of each character’s unique physical appearance. As far as thematic concepts go, who to trust is a central theme in this story, as the heroine, Jupiter, meets one mysterious being after another, and tries to find her place in a magical world that steals her away from an old world that may never be the same for her when she returns.
The characters are all differentiated by their unique vocabulary and phrasing, with some sounding more formal and some coming across as more casual, which is another characteristic I appreciate about urban fantasy. The author relies a little too much on common parlance with some of her characters, and the dialogue as a whole could be stronger, but that’s usually the case with most fiction-writers. However, the vocabulary of Maxine’s characters is certainly naturalistic for the dualistic setting of an urban fantasy. The author also does a good job of developing her central character’s inner life by revealing Jupiter’s desires, feelings, beliefs, concerns, perceptions and confusion, amidst the chaos and mystery that surrounds her. The dialogue and the narrative also incorporate a fair amount of humor, and some moments are quite amusing.
As a novella, Choices is a quick read, and the story pulls you along like a steady train-ride. Although I enjoyed the whole book, the ending was my favorite scene; it’s both riveting and suspenseful, and I look forward to reading Book Two.