Saturday, January 25, 2014

REVIEW - SCHASM (Schasm Series #1) by Shari J. Ryan:

Title: Schasm
Series: Schasm Series
Series Placement: #1
Author: Shari J. Ryan
Age Group: Young Adult
Genre: Suspense, Romance, Mental Health
Publication Date: January 20, 2014
Published by: Booktrope Publishing
Format: eBook and Paperback
Pages: Approx. 269

Copy Provided by:
Jennifer Gilbert w/ Booktrope Publishing 
My Goodreads Review Link

View the Book Trailer!

Book Blurb:
Chloe Valcourt drifts between two worlds: the dark reality of her domineering mother and feeble father and the vivid fantasy of her imagination. 

With her condition comes the harsh observation of doctors who intend to cure her of it. But a chance encounter with a handsome and vaguely familiar young man in her dream world hints at the possibility of hidden truths—and a life she can’t remember. As her drifts become a greater escape from the cruelty of the real world, Chloe finds herself lost between what is real and what is imagined, questioning her very existence. 

Can she remain in the lush new imagined landscape to find happiness in a realm of her own invention? Is she doomed to return to the harsh reality of the outside world forever? Or will she become trapped somewhere between the two…unable to return to either?

Reviewers Note: Schasm is book one in the Schasm Series and is a Young Adult Romance written by Shari J. Ryan. I received this eARC from Booktrope Publishing in exchange for an honest review.

4.5 Absorbing, Pensive Stars!
Dark, Dramatic and Downright Daunting! An Sharp, Riveting Read That Will Keep You Guessing From Beginning To End! 

Quote Spotlight... 
“I think I’ve just entered an entirely new dimension of misperception.”

The Review: 
In her debut novel, Shari J. Ryan writes an exquisite story filled with emotion, tension and an enduring romance. Its genre is Young Adult, but this book will engage and compel all ages. 

I want to express how amazing this read is. It immediately captured my attention and kept me submerged with its intense, dramatic and dark story. It was never really confusing but it surely kept me wondering as every time I thought I figured out what was going on, I was thrown a new startling twist, then another strange series of events would slap me silly and take me on one heck of a mind trip. And I loved every phantasmagorical moment!

I don't want to be too revealing in this review because I feel that giving too much of the content away will spoil the experience for you so I'm going to just give you the basics along with my thoughts.

The Rundown...
Nineteen year old Chloe Valcourt calls her ability drifting but her doctors call it temporary fugue-state dissociation which they compare to a mild case of schizophrenia and have told her there is no cure. When she closes her eyes, she can drift from her secluded, drab reality where she’s basically held captive by her overbearing and scornful mother to fantastical places where she’s free and alive and allowed to really experience all that life has to offer. She’s been this way for as long as she can remember and since the age of seven, when she told her mother about her new “friends” from her drifts, Chloe’s mother insisted on seeking her medical help. So each week her mother, thinking her “disability” abnormal, takes her to a psychiatric clinic for tests and treatment as she persuasively flirts with the doctors, curving Chloe’s treatment to her desires. 

Chloe just wants to be left alone to drift in and out of her world, the places she creates for herself, the fantasies she can play out in her own head and live the life she’s been denied for the last twelve years. She might be alone and unable to interact with the people in her drifts but at least she can experience something other than the four walls of her imprisonment. 

Then in one of her drifts, she meets a handsome stranger with a familiar air about him who tells her he’s like her and he’ll teach her to control her ability. This one event changes everything for Chloe and sends her on a spectacular adventure filled with danger, romance and intrigue. 

This story plays out like the events in Chloe’s mind are legitimate, the people are real and the situations and danger is factual. And what I absolutely loved about this read was you question everything! 

Are the experiences Chloe is having really real? You never know what is real and what's made up. Is Chloe really as mentally unstable as the doctors would have you believe she is? Her mother is a sinister presence in her life, warping her treatment and her environment to keep Chloe under thumb, but is there more to it than a mentally unstable girl who likes to live in her dreams? Or... are we, the readers, trapped in her mind throughout the entire book with her, living through the events as they unfold around her. Is Chloe’s mind playing out scenarios to help her deal? Is her disability trying to convince her to stay in the drifts or could she really have a unique ability unlike most. You. Just. Never. Know! Which is brilliant.

Every event, every illusion... it all seemed relevant with a hidden message but at the same time, farcical in the extreme. I literally couldn’t suss out what was real and what was a hallucination and I'm still not convinced any of it was truth, which must have been what it was like for Chloe. 

What if you couldn't trust your own mind and you didn’t know reality from dream. Which reality would you choose to stay in and how far would you go to get what you wanted. These are the questions that are so expertly raised in this fantastically written novel that’s disturbing, emotional, thrilling and adventurous all wrapped around a romance that left me enthralled. There were moments when her dire circumstances ripped through my emotion and I felt pulled down into the bottomless chasm Chloe was drifting through. That's excellent writing, right there!

The Wrap Up: 
The mind and what it can create is a truly wondrous thing. One’s imagination can take them to soaring heights, thrill them in the darkest of situations and conjure up fantastical images when things seem desperate and lonely. This read will have you questioning every event, everyone's actions, everyone's reactions and make you think long and hard about what's real and what's illusion. And that ending! It was abrupt and shocking but left me needing to know what happens next. I can’t wait for book two, Fissured Free! I'm definitely a fan...

Buy the Book!

About the Author...
Shari J. Ryan has always dreamt of becoming an author and finally decided it was time to pursue her lifelong aspiration by writing her debut young adult novel, Schasm, as well as working on the second and third book of the trilogy. She has long nurtured a passion for art, reading, and writing, and those hobbies have become a mental escape from her busy life. In the past couple of years, she has put her heart and soul into the creation of her novels, which has taught her that it is never too late and nothing is too hard. The author graduated with a bachelors of science degree from Johnson & Wales University and has written hundreds of articles for various online publications. She is married with two sons.

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