Title: Running from Secrets
Author: Stephanie Void
Pages: Ebook; 198
Release Date: January 23, 2010
Intended Reading Group:
3 Keys to My Heart
Bethany has never felt as alone as she feels in Linwood—until she dreams up Chime, a woman on the run because of a magic crime she didn’t commit. The dreams get more and more urgent, so Bethany tries to banish them by writing them down, only to discover she’s stumbled into the role of unwitting controller of Chime’s world.<br><br>Chime is real here, and so is the possessed queen, minion army, mysterious professor, Vault Five, wind chimes with a secret code, child’s rhyme that can kill, the naked painting, and other things Chime’s story leads her to.<br><br>She has to fix the story without erasing Chime and her world, because if she erases Chime, she will die as well.
When I first read the synopsis for Running from Secrets, I was intrigued. A world within a world? How could you not love something so deep. I wanted to see where Bethany would go, what she would dream up, and how she would get herself into trouble. It seemed like a fantastic premise for a fantasy book, and I was an eager reader when I opened up to the first page.
From there, things became a little rocky for me. There were elements of the story that I really loved, and then there were parts that didn't feel as though they fit at all. Bethany has created the world of New Velerethland in her mind, along with a heroine named Chime. At first Bethany thinks it's all just a story. She soon comes to find out that these people really do, in fact, exist and she gets wrapped up in their adventures. This I liked. The fantasy/adventure aspect was really great. Chime and Bethany were great compliments to one another, and their adventures were interesting and fantastical.
In terms of characterization, as a main character I really felt like Bethany's story was really glanced over. The reader finds out a little bit about her at the beginning, that she's been transplanted to a brand new home after a terrible accident, but then we loose her in Chime's world. I felt like Bethany's character never really grew into her own, or was fully fleshed out. There were times I felt she was older than she was supposed to be, and times when I felt she was much younger. It was rather confusing. Chime also doesn't get much background, but as she is a product of Bethany's imagination, I understood why. Still, I would have liked to get to know them a little better.
Stephanie Void has written a very good fantasy story here, but as I mentioned there are parts that just didn't seem to fit. There is a secret that Bethany is hiding, and when she hints at it (extremely briefly) it doesn't really fit into the overall story. I found myself rereading that passage a few times to make sure I read it correctly. It was a huge thing for a girl her age to be carrying around, but I wasn't sure how it melded with her fantasy world. Except perhaps that she was hiding from it there. There are also portions of the book that are very dialogue heavy. It made reading slow going at times. I would have liked to see a little more action.
If I'm being honest, Running from Secrets was both a hit and a miss for me at the same time. There were parts of the story that flowed, and then there were things that would pull me out of the world I was reading about. By no means am I saying that I didn't like the book. What I am saying is that it wasn't the easiest read for me. I'd recommend you give it a read if you're a lover of fantasy. Bethany's world is well worth a visit.
FTC Disclosure: I received a copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. I was not monetarily compensated for my opinion.