By: M. Ch. Landa
Published by: Landa Publishing LLC
Publication Date: October 15, 2021
Reviewed By: Kathy Stickles
Review Date: October 4, 2022
Maia Foster is a seventeen-year-old girl trying to deal with the normal things in life that affect a teenage girl. Does the boy I like return that feeling? How do I deal with school and work? What do I do this weekend? In addition, Maia has to deal with many things that no teenager should have to deal with. I had cancer when I was a young child and now it is back. My father left and my mother died and now I am a burden on my grandmother, who is raising me. How can I deal with this? Is my life over?
Maia ends up in the hospital because of an accident and her cancer. Normal for this poor tragic young woman but it quickly turns into a very not normal experience. After overhearing her grandmother having an odd conversation, Maia is visited by a strange young man who claims to be death (Vandella). He explains to her that he is there to claim her grandmother’s soul. To Maia this is not acceptable. This is the woman who raised her, who lived through her first cancer experience and took care of her and promised it would get better. The woman Maia loves more than anything and owes everything to. After speaking with this man, Maia is immediately led to the question that we all, if you admit it to yourself, have to answer at some point in our lives...What would you give up for the people that you love? And the answer, if we truly think about it, is...My life.
That answer leads to the crux of the story when Maia offers her soul in exchange for her grandmother’s and follows Sidney (Vandella/Death) into the afterlife in an incredible journey that will keep readers on the edge of their seats from beginning to end. Maia’s amazing sacrifice leads her on a journey where she meets a large number of people, some from her past and some she has never heard of and they all become a huge part of her new life and sacrifice. Unfortunately, it is not an easy trip as these people can never be taken at face value and Maia spends a majority of her time being betrayed and having her heart broken over and over.
Vandella is an extremely well-written and intriguing book with very interesting characters that the reader quickly becomes attached to. It is also a new and creative way of looking at death and what happens to us in the afterlife. I was very impressed at Mr. Landa’s way of writing and how well he described the characters and locations and made the reader truly care about them and what was happening to them. Maia is a wonderful protagonist and you really want to see what she does and how she handles every tragic thing that is handed to her in this life and beyond. Sidney is one of the best characters this reader has ever had the pleasure of meeting, full of just the right about of serious and scary as well as wit and charm. In fact, every character in the story is just perfectly written for their place in this adventure.
The tale is so full of emotion and description that the reader cannot help but love it and truly feel for each character. The end is superb and able to answer all of the reader’s questions while also leaving them on the edge of their seat to find out what happens next. It is not your average YA story but a very unique look at young adults trying to do what is right.
Quill says: Any book that truly makes you ask questions and holds your interest until you find the answers is a great book, and this one goes way beyond that. It should be added to everyone’s list of must-reads, not just those who enjoy the Fantasy genre.
For more information on Vandella (Vandella Series Book 1), please visit the author's website at: mchlanda.com.
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