Michiko Hoizu and the Magnolia Tree

Book 1

Fiction - New Adult
61 Pages
Reviewed on 07/21/2017
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    Book Review

Reviewed by Romuald Dzemo for Readers' Favorite

Michiko Hoizu and the Magnolia Tree is the first book in a delightful series for young adult readers by Victorine Vien, a coming of age story, masterfully written. Meet Michiko, a seventeen-year-old orphaned girl with dreams of going to college, but things quickly change with the revelation that she is a Namian, a descendant of an alien race. She is taken away by Elerity, an eccentric woman, and brought to study in the Magical Arts University hidden in Trayson. Read on to discover how she explores her identity, learns of her origins, loves and losses. Most importantly, this is a story about growing up and coming to terms with her identity in a world that is ruthless and unforgiving. But what has the magnolia tree to do with her destiny?

Victorine Vien’s novel is a quick read, the kind of book a reader finishes and says, “Wow,” hoping the story could have continued. The setting comes across vividly through the narrative and readers will enjoy the colorful descriptions that are masterfully integrated into the storyline. Right off the bat, the reader is introduced to the protagonist and the setting, with the “yellow-leafed trees with plumed branches.” The story is told in an absorbing first person narrative voice, and the protagonist’s thoughts and emotions are wonderfully captured. Readers who love stories that involve magic and the supernatural will be seduced by this story. Michiko Hoizu and the Magnolia Tree is a great success in the entertainment it offers, the depth of characters, the exquisite prose, the humor, and the plot.

Jack Magnus

Michiko Hoizu and the Magnolia Tree: Book 1 is a new adult urban fantasy serial novella written by Victorine Vien. Michiko dreamed of nothing more than attending university, but her search hadn’t come up with anything by the time her seventeenth birthday arrived. She and her family had just finished celebrating her birthday with a cake, when her mother broached the subject. Susan and Sam were not her birth parents, a fact that became painfully relevant once they had their own child, Kamran. They wanted Michiko to give up on the idea of university and go to a trade school instead. Susan stressed that they would continue to let her stay at home without paying rent, but that she should start paying for her food and transportation -- as well as the costs of trade school. Susan seemed impatient and didn’t back down, even when Michiko questioned the fact that she had brought up the subject on Michiko’s birthday. Susan’s attitude made Michiko feel more like an orphan than ever before, as if she was only tolerated because of her value as a companion to their real child. She ran up to her room, barely able to reach it before the tears started flowing. Michiko was determined not to let Susan see how upset she had made her.

Michiko woke the next morning, hours earlier than she had planned, and she was stunned to see a woman in flowing garments standing in her room. Was she an angel come to take her to the next life? Michiko was definitely not ready for that. When she woke again, she saw a strange suitcase by her bed, and her parents were waiting downstairs with some astonishing news. Ellerity Cassini would be there shortly to offer her a place in a university. But Ellerity had even more shocking information for Michiko -- Ellerity had known her real parents, and they had been Namians, aliens from another world, who had died aboard a ship during a storm -- and the school she’d be attending was the Devonae University of the Magical Arts.

Victorine Vien’s new adult urban fantasy serial novella, Michiko Hoizu and the Magnolia Tree: Book 1, will have Harry Potter fans automatically noticing the similarities between Vien’s and Rowling’s stories, but that’s a good thing. Vien’s character, while an orphan and one made to feel second-best by her adoptive family, and destined for schooling in the magical arts, is already a young adult when she learns the truth about herself and her family. And while they both learn about their new futures on their birthdays, the six-year difference between Harry and Michiko is a major one that gives Vien the latitude to develop her characters in a way that will connect primarily with new adults and more mature young adults. I will admit to having been just a bit skeptical at first upon noting the similarities, but Vien’s plot, setting and characters soon had me happily ensconced, along with Michiko, at Devonae University. I’m looking forward to the next installment of this original urban fantasy series. Michiko Hoizu and the Magnolia Tree is most highly recommended.