Fields of Elysium

Fields of Elysium
by A.B. Whelan
Published December 12th 2012 by InMotion Capitol 

Author's blog:
Visit the author's page:
Summary from GoodReads:
How can love mend a heart full of hate?
Small town girl, Molly Bennett, moves to Los Angeles where she becomes an outsider while attending Beverly Hills High School. It seems life cannot be any more dreadful. Then one day after school, something magical happens. On a secluded hike in the Hollywood Hills, Molly chases her disobedient mutt and only friend into a hidden cavern. She stumbles upon a strange glimmering gateway that transports her to Arkana, a planet that is the cradle of an advanced human race. There, teenagers navigate amazing flying vehicles, compete in perilous games for glory, and possess supernatural powers. While Molly tries to wrap her mind around this unbelievable discovery, she meets the alluring and mysterious Victor Sorren. He is a Sentinel Apprentice, whose hatred toward people from Earth is beyond understanding. Yet every time Victor unpredictably saves Molly's life, his heart draws closer to hers, no matter how much he tries to fight against it. It further complicates things that their growing friendship is strictly forbidden. Earth people are prohibited in Arkana, yet Molly continues to cross through the portal to Arkana to see Victor. Torn between their double lives, they go down a dangerous path, from where there is no return and multiple endings.
Would you fight to be with the one you truly love? What cost would you be willing to sacrifice for that love?
Fields of Elysium is a suspenseful romantic tale full of forbidden secrets, unimaginable danger, deception, and the never-ending fight for true love.

Ericka's Take:

To start with, I really liked this book.  As of late, I have been reading a lot of vampire novels, and it is nice to find a YA novel that isn't all about the bite.  Fear not though, forbidden romance still abounds!  There are some mistakes in this book, but overall I attribute that to the author's newness and potentially her language barrier.  She speaks a variety of languages, and so sometimes the writing has the "correctness" that only someone who learned English as a second language has.  It is not a bad thing!  Just a strange thing sometimes.

Language is a good way to begin talking about the main character, Molly.  As mentioned in the book jacket, Molly is a small-town girl who moves to LA.  One thing the jacket does not mention is that this small town is in New Jersey.  That is right folks, Miss Molly is a Jersey Girl...  presumably with a complete Jersey accent.  Being from Philly myself, I am fully aware of the Jersey accent, and it is mentioned a few times in the book that she "speaks differently" than everyone else.  It is hard to remember though, because, like I said, the writing is so perfect sometimes that you cannot really keep it in your brain that Molly should be a Jersey girl.  She does come across as different and an outcast, but not Jersey.

Jersey still does figure prominently into the story because Molly's dad is somewhat of a completely overbearing and overprotective lunatic.  As a result of the Lindberg baby (who was stolen in their hometown), dad essentially lo-jacks his daughter so that he knows where she is at all times.  It is a little...  much.  Then it seems as though they move to LA because Molly has some trouble at her high school with her friends and boyfriend, and suddenly dad lets out the leash, so to speak, and gives Molly freedom.  Wait, she was lo-jacked in small town NJ, but she is given freedom in LA?  Huh.

Aside from these two early hiccups, the story is enchanting.  Molly finds a utopian world full of people who are loving and peaceful.  It sounds fantastic and beautiful.  The author does a really nice job of describing how gorgeous this world is.  I am personally glad though that I did not read the jacket of the book before reading the book itself.  The perilous games were really not that perilous.  The supernatural powers do not really come into play until the very end.  

So here is where I have to be a little bit of a downer.  And I have to stress, I really did like this book!  However, the end is one of those "and it was all just a dream"-type endings.  No, no spoiler...  it is not just a dream!  The thing is, the ending has several really big things happen all at once, and they are all really convenient.  Those supernatural powers?  Poof!  There they are!  They just were never ever ever mentioned at all before until the last few pages.  Convenient.   Also, whoa, major high school drama craziness happening at the end.  What?!  Perhaps the author is just setting up the next book in the series and leaving us with some cliff-hangers.  I just wish it was not such a shock.

I guess the real tell-tale for me is that I am looking forward to reading the next installment.  I don't always want to continue reading a series, but this one I have jotted down as a yes.  I am curious to see where it is going.  I think the story has a lot of potential, especially as Earth and Arkana intermix.  I also wonder what will happen when daddy gets to  meet Victor.  As Victor joins the Sentinels, it will be interesting to see how the author explores what are, essentially, other races that live on Arkana.  

Thumbs up for Fields of Elysium.  


Interview with author A.B. Whelan
Ericka's Question
Andrea's Response
Your blog includes movie and book reviews.  How did you get into the review business?

I write movie reviews for fun, as I’m a huge fan of Hollywood movies. I try to warn people with similar tastes not to waste their time on lame ones and encourage them to watch those I loved. For me, there are no bad movies or good movie; just the ones I liked or I disliked.
I only write book reviews when I do an author review exchange with a fellow writer. It is not as much fun criticizing a book when my own books are under the microscope as well. I read books with the mind of a writer, not a reader, and that fact makes it more difficult to review a book.

What do you like best about the Fields of Elysium story?

Teenagers wish to be special. I was no different. I used to dream about discovering something extraordinary, being a part of something remarkable, being loved like I was the only girl in the world, extending myself to the limit to see what I was capable of. And Molly in Fields of Elysium got all that. It’s like a dream come true. However, Molly and I don’t really share the same personality since I was over-confident and had lots of friends. Nevertheless, our core values are the same.

Being a self-described "soccer mom," how do you find the time to write?

I’m very ambitious. My parents always had high expectations for me, so I always push myself. Despite the fact that I’m not a morning person, I get up very early, way before the kids, to write. And I also steal time during the day whenever I can, like now, when my kids are hanging out at the Grand Canyon with Grandma, and my husband is at work. 
Do you have any advice for people who want to start writing?

If your English is superb and you have a way with words, finish your book and, with the help of proofreaders, editors, and test readers, polish it to perfection. Find an agent and only accept big publishing companies’ offers. If that doesn’t work out, build your author platform, finish all the other books in the series, or write at least 2-3 more books, and start self-publishing them one by one on your own. If you become popular, hopefully an agent will sign you.
If you’re only great at storytelling, finish your book and put it aside. Then write a new book. Read as many books as you can. Keep writing. Revising. Editing. Seek professional help. And if after a year of editing you are still perfectly satisfied with your first book, then start thinking about publishing options.
I wish I’d known in 2011 what I know now. But I’m already on the hamster wheel. You still have time to learn from others’ mistakes. 

Does having children color the type of writing you do?  If so, in what way?

Having children made me write in the first place. I had the best childhood and teen years ever. I want that for my kids, for every kid. I was brought up with great values, and I have seen so much, that I feel the need to create stories for others that will encourage them to dare to live, explore new things, learn to work hard, and sacrifice in order to be happy and successful. The idea that ‘I’m entitled to things because I exist’ is not my favorite. I try to help my kids to find their dreams and achieve their goals without expecting miracles from life. 


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