Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Black Bead (Black Bead Chronicles #1) by JD Lakey | Blog Tour and Giveaway | Book Review

Welcome to Black Bead Blog Tour. This is a book review. This is the first book of the Black Bead Chronicles by JD Lakey. 

On a savage, outlying planet an enclave of psionically-trained humans have built a utopian, matriarchal society that lives in harmony with all life. Leaving behind the polluted and corrupt world in which they lived, they colonized a new home far from the eyes of the galactic empire. Shielded from the rest of the galaxy by the dangerous beasts that inhabit their lush, forested world, the village lives a simple life under their Home Dome. But their goal was more than just to live in peace – they wanted to create the perfect human who could bring peace to the galaxy. Rather than merely cloning themselves, they began to manipulate genes in order to create a race of mutants with enhanced telepathic powers.

Under the direction of the ruling witch coven, each child of the Windfall Dome is tested at a young age to assess their abilities – a test which can plot the course for the rest of their lives. Unfortunately, Cheobawn – the daughter of the ruling First Mother to the dome – is marked with the Black Bead on her Choosing Day, a symbol of bad luck and shame. It seems the child the mothers had placed so much hope in would not be the future ruler they had hoped for. Yet there is something powerful about her that the elders don’t understand.

Finally of age, Cheobawn is chosen to join a pack to act as the psychic Ear on a foraging mission outside the dome. She knows this is her chance to prove herself. But something sinister stalks them and each member of the pack must draw on their unique strengths and a lifetime of training if they want to survive to see another day.

In her visionary new series The Black Bead Chronicles, author J.D. Lakey invites you to journey along with Cheobawn, Megan, Tam, Connor, and Alain as they use their wits and their Luck to unravel the mysteries of the deceptively bucolic life beneath the dome in this coming of age metaphysical science fiction adventure.

This is one of those books that will melt your heart. If you love rooting for the underdogs like I am, this book will definitely delight you. What is more fascinating is the pint-size heroine. Unsure of herself. An outcast. Sounds like a disaster-in-the-making, right? But this story will remind you to not underestimate a person just because she is young, small, innocent and inexperienced. There is a famous Filipino idiomatic expression which says, "maliit man ay nakakapuwing din". This is roughly translated as, a mote can blind you, too (from Missosology.info). The heroine in this story, Cheobawn, accomplished a physical and mental feat on her first try. This six-year-old, who was tagged unlucky, lead the group out to explore and brought them back safe and whole by just relying on her instincts and supposedly useless gift. She is akin to a product with a factory defect that did not pass the quality inspection. She had proven that whatever people labeled her was not true. She refused to accept her fate and broke through it. She has broken the belief that she is doomed and nothing but bad luck.

This motley group of four kids plus one, ages 6-10, had proven that together they can make things happen. They can defy expectations and rise above them. This book didn't feel like a sci-fi adventure story to me. It felt more like an all-oxygen-consuming adventure trip which involves a lot or running and hiding. Add in an interesting array of unique and deadly creatures. A ragtag, novice, and very young crew with genetically-enhanced abilities out on their first foray into the real world of wonder and danger. In a way, this felt like Hansel and Gretel picking wild berries and being lost in the woods. Only, instead of just two, there were five of them. They almost got eaten not just once but more than a couple of times. And instead of leaving breadcrumbs to find their way back, Cheobawn had the map clearly printed in his head. This was an even more satisfying read than the classic Hansel and Gretel.

I wanted to hold Cheobawn's hands and hug her. I want to protect her. I want her to know that she is amazing and will gladly join her and the rest of the group in their foraging. Where to next? I can't wait for the next book in the series. I can't wait to know what other adventures await our motley crew. I want to find out what else will our heroines and heroes need to accomplish to make a mark and impact in their coven. 

I give this book 4/5 black beads. These five little kids have the hearts of brave warriors and explorers. I won't mind tagging along and feel safe with them. This group also knows fun. It was an amazing adventure. I have my pack and gear ready for the next one. Just tell me when. I am all set.

I knew it was too good to be true. There is always a barb hidden in the happiness of the world. It sinks into one's heart and when it gets torn out it leaves a gaping and bloody hole.
- JD Lakey, Black Bead - 

J. D. Lakey was born and raised on the high plains of Montana under an endless sky and as far as from civilization as anyone in the twentieth century could get. There she explored the finer nuances of silence and the endless possibilities of the imagination. The stories were always there, The shifting of fortunes finally granted her the time to gather all the stories and give them flesh.

An avid reader of science fiction and comics, she currently lives in San Diego, California where she divides her time between writing, commuting on the I-5, and spending time with her delightful grandchildren.

Thank you, The Book Nymph and JD Lakey for the review copy.