The Conduit

space"The Conduit" by Stacey Rourke is a creative re-telling of the classic good versus evil theme that is suitable for younger readers as well as the young at heart. This reader cannot recall any cursing, and sex is limited to a hint that someone might eventually hit "second base", or "boob-age" as Gabe refers to it. You have an eighteen year old clutzy, snarky female protagonist with Celeste; an older brother, Gabe, is the twenty year old endearing beefcake with vulnerabilities galore as well as the built-in need to protect his family; baby sister, fifteen year old Kendall is not only gorgeous, but artsy, sweet, and optimistic almost to a fault. As a dragon lover, this reader's only real complaint is when the big, bad dude morphs into a dragon intent to kill, but Celeste keeps her wit about her, delivering this gem, "I was stuck like a rogue popcorn kernel" after jumping into his mouth to defend her family, and the world.
spaceThere were some minor grammar, punctuation and spelling errors found, but not enough to toss a reader from Rourke's carefully crafted world. Spelling errors found were mis-used words, actually, like substituting "itches" when the writer surely meant "inches". All in all, this tale was decently edited; this reader is reasonably certain Rourke checked and double checked her work before publication and was happy to stay in the tale with Celeste, Gabe and Kendall. Oh! And Grams! This reader must mention the rascally grandmother that embarrasses her grandchildren with her out spokenness, her flirtatious behavior, and "take me as I am" clothing style... hmm, come to think of it, Grams sort of reminds this reader of herself. Although this reader does not own a leopard print bikini.
spaceRourke has a fun and engaging stylistic voice that draws a reader into the story quickly. The main characters are developed and flawed, making them not only believable, but endearing and easy to empathize with. The small town setting is easy to visualize, with the majestic Tennessee mountain backdrop. The backstory of the Gryphon and the reason for this war the teens are drawn into, was simply told by one that had actually been present during the war, their Spirit Guide, Alaina. Was this story perfect? No. But it was a darn good read that this reader heartedly recommends, and this reader will definitely keep her eyes on Stacey Rourke. ** This review was originally posted to Amazon reviews on January 21, 2017 and Goodreads on same date. **


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