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Reviewed by Lit Amri for Readers' Favorite
Loner Collette Aeglaeca is a unique-looking teen with long silvery hair, a marked left cheek, and star-shaped pupils. Without close friends, she has deeply bonded with her family’s two Great Pyrenees. When she turns 18, she learns about her family’s tribe's centuries-long curse. Worse yet, she discovers that she will bear the burden of her parents’ transgressions against the creator and spirit guardian of the animals, Esa. Will she succumb to her fate or does she has the strength to make her own destiny as her parents hope?
The characters are well rounded. Collette is indeed special but is also a temperamental adolescent, so it was interesting to see how she copes with the family’s dark past, her budding romance with her crush, Bryce, the ‘change’ that further complicates her relationship with her parents, and the appearance of unexpected enemies. On the other hand, the slow-burn development might alienate some readers who prefer a fast-paced read. It’s more of a character-driven story, meant to be savored slowly.
Set in Idaho, 18th Winter by Stella J. Raasch is a coming of age, supernatural fantasy with an interesting premise. I like the deeply integrated Native American history as it gives the story a substantial sense of historical intrigue. There’s a clear, significant message about empathy and respect towards Mother Nature and animal rights as well as being confident and comfortable in your own skin. Overall, Raasch’s 18th Winter is a solid read and the ending will definitely excite readers for the sequel.