Ariel’s Dream by Tahlia Newland

Ariel’s Dream

by Tahlia Newland

Genre: Short Story, Fantasy, Paranormal, Young Adult

Five stars

Fifteen-year-old Ariel has a nightmare that somehow keeps intruding on her waking life; a shadow being that won’t seem to disappear even after she wakes. A simple trip to the beach with friends becomes a mind-stretching experience, and the monster seems to strengthen with her fear. How can she defeat it?

Tahlia Newland’s short story delivers her fantastic supernatural realism, but with an added chill factor of a tighter blend with reality. Ariel’s scary dream pushed into real life is just the sort of thing that everyone fears a little. The story’s added message of facing up to life’s fears reinforces the themes of her Diamond Peak series and connects it to Don’t Shatter Me. Ariel’s Dream is a quick, fun read with a little added story to fill in the series. Is that Nick we saw there with the six pack abs and the golden glow?

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Stalking Shadows by Tahlia Newland

Stalking Shadows

Book 2 of the Diamond Peak Series

by Tahlia Newland

Genre: New Adult, Fantasy

Four Stars

In her second book of the Diamond Peak series, Newland draws us further into the world of Ariel, a regular girl with a fantastic past and a challenging future. Ariel, Nick, and Twitchet depart the haven of the Observatory to continue up the mountain in their mission to defeat Rasama. Deadly perils and romantic tension await Ariel and Nick on the trail. In a push for the next haven at Sheldra, Nick and Ariel must fight  monsters, demons, mages, and their feelings while Twitchet heckles them. Between the three and Sheldra stand many different supernatural terrains and the enemies who inhabit them, which are sometimes the same thing. Can they overcome the obstacles and enemies to arrive at Sheldra? Will Amic show up to oppose them? Will Ariel be able to defeat him if he does?

In Newland’s signature style, she turns internal struggles into fantastic battles of magic. Feelings have a color and a brightness, and evil has many faces and personalities. Even romance holds extra danger when a girl can zap the one she loves with the power of feelings. This can be particularly excruciating with a volatile teen! I admit I found Ariel’s fluctuating resolve almost as aggravating as Nick did, even though we both knew why she felt that way. Newland really nailed the love/hate relationship with Twitchet, who amused, comforted, aggravated, and mocked the couple mercilessly.

Newland wrestles with the problem of evil, transforming it into a supernatural battle against a tenacious beast. I could really feel her anguish at the infection in society, the hopelessness of so many in the face of the disease, and the deep need for a hero to step in and defeat it. Her enemies weren’t just beings, but sometimes sprits or animated objects, which gave an almost Shinto flavor to some of her terrain. They weren’t simple “bad guys” either but individuals with a perspective and tragic past.

Newland’s writing style just gets better and better. Her scenes take me out of my living room and into Diamond Peak. I know when I pick up one of Tahlia’s book I’m in for a great read!

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