Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Majestica; First Glimpse by Rebecca Mize

Lace and Jace fall for each other as Lace is about to fall off a cliff - literally. Their romance avalanches from there, and before long they deem each other soulmates. But a hidden world and an long-harbored desire for vengeance threaten to interfere with these teens' plans for happily ever after. Add in a few judgmental friends, a one-track-mind obsessive guy, and a mixed martial arts (or similar) twist, and you've got your first glimpse at Majestica;First Glimpse.

Mize definitely has potential for a compelling story in the next two installments of the trilogy, with the main conflict ultimately left unresolved and the thought of being apart looming over Jace's and Lace's heads. While the idea of finding one's soulmate is exciting and heartwarming, Lace constantly seemed unable to think about anything besides her boyfriend in an almost Twilight-esque manner (the story is told in first person). The redundancy of Lace's thoughts throughout the book about how much she loved Jace and how much she needed him, etc., took away from the plot of the book. In the words of my mother, "You don't need a boy to define you," but it seemed like Lace did. And when Jace was gone for a good third of the book, Lace was miserable to the point of pathetic - she drew back further from her closest friend (the others had left her), was antisocial and introverted, and she put her life on a full standstill waiting for Jace to return. Life is not meant to be lived that way. I understand she was worried about her boyfriend, but that shouldn't stop her from living, though it seemed to.

Some characters and subplots were also very reminiscent of Twilight (take that as you will - I enjoyed the books, but the movies were definitely lacking); Jace's pack of friends (one of whom is the leader he must obey), friends who ditch Lace or are ditched by Lace when she starts dating Jace, and a few others. This is not to say Mize did a poor job; a wider gap between the two tales would have been appreciated. 

While I very much respect Mize's writings on premarital sex (waiting for the right person, when the time is right, etc.), the teens' actions after 3 attempted sexual assaults - one very nearly not stopped in time - were disheartening and hopefully unrealistic. Instead of alerting the proper authorities or adults, they did nothing and let the boy who tried to rape Lace walk away. Granted, he got a few nice bruises from Jace, but I believe it would have sent out a much stronger message to adolescents that in those types of situations authorities or trusted adults need to be alerted to the issue immediately. Sexual assault is nothing to take lightly, and there are viable options that should be investigated before simply dismissing the ordeal. Lace's emotions played little or no mentioned factor in her decision to keep the situation among her friends and Jace, and the idea of telling her parents or anyone else was not even entertained.

Many props to Rebecca Mize for publishing, and I hope the rest of the Majestica trilogy brings verisimilitude, further character development, and better choices made by the characters. I would like to see Mize address the main conflict again and perhaps allow the reader to better comprehend the world of Majestica, as we never get to see it (or read about it) for ourselves as Lace is unable to travel there. (I won't give away any more of the plot, though!) 

The book contained little or no profanity, while it did had strong thematic elements, including a fairly graphic attempted rape scene (and two other attempted assaults), and some discussion of premarital sex. I'd say the book is suitable for teens 14 and older.

Enjoy, and happy readings!