Najee: A Glimmer of Hope

Najee Series Volume 1

Young Adult - Sci-Fi
354 Pages
Reviewed on 09/09/2018
Buy on Amazon

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Author Biography

Sarah Y. Westmoreland completed her first novel (Najee: A Glimmer of Hope) at the age of 13, which was then published shortly after her 18th birthday. Najee: Awakening soon followed the first book in the series. Sarah continues to write, hoping to expand the Najee series, as well as to create even more fascinating worlds and characters.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Romuald Dzemo for Readers' Favorite

Najee: A Glimmer of Hope by Sarah Y. Westmoreland is the first entry in the Najee Series and a compelling blend of science fiction and fantasy with a colorful setting and characters readers will enjoy. Many people, like fourteen-year-old Akinia, have never known peace in the Empire. They were born into a world riddled by war, with no hope of respite. Life is difficult for everyone as the empire faces threats from powerful enemies. But there are rumors of the child of the prophecy, the one who will restore the long-forgotten years of peace, those years that only old people like Ko-Pau Klie still remember. So, when Akinia is selected to fight alongside the Imperial army as a Najee Warrior, she feels hopeless as she faces the crude reality of war, but she is determined to train harder and to protect her people. Little does she know that she is at the heart of a prophecy in which millions of people through the generations have placed their hope. Does she have what it takes to bring about the peace everyone desires?

I enjoy stories with strong plot points and Najee: A Glimmer of Hope has a wonderful plot, but what caught my attention most was the skillful handling of character. Akinia is so well developed and readers will enjoy her growth as the story progresses. At the beginning of the story, she is hesitant and uncertain and this makes her so human and likeable. The long hours of her training and the connection she develops with the Master, Ko-Pau Klie, allow her to build her confidence and to believe there could be a future for her people. The grit is strong, the moments of emotion are exacting, and the entire story is filled with a realism that does not completely exclude the eeriness that adds to the magic of the tale. It is fast-paced and filled with intense action.

The conflict is strong, involving the life of an empire, and the author uses it to propel the plot towards a powerful climax. Sarah Y. Westmoreland has a voice that is smooth and captivating, a great sense of setting which allows readers to follow the characters through the war-torn regions of the empire, and a great gift for plot structure. This is a book for fantasy buffs, a tale that is as transporting as it is delightful. This author was able to hold my attention from the first page until the last exhilarating page. Looking forward to the next entry in this series.

Melinda Hills

Akinia, a fourteen-year-old orphan, is suddenly taken from the only home she has ever known and told she is to train as one of the Empire’s most elite warriors, the Najee. Najee: A Glimmer of Hope, Volume 1 in the Najee Series by Sarah Y. Westmoreland follows Akinia as she becomes an indispensable part of the fighting force defending The Empire from the Sigadian invaders. Akinia is tutored by several Master Najees and a fellow apprentice, Nath, and grows quickly in her abilities to wield a variety of mental powers she never knew she possessed. As the situation becomes more and more desperate for The Empire, Akinia is taken captive by Jade Enbrilth, the enemy. He wants Akinia to join him to defeat the Najee and uses torture to try to change her mind, but she holds out against his methods, hoping for rescue. Can Nath and the Masters get to her before Jade succeeds or will she succumb to his torture?

Akinia is a bright, talented and determined young woman who only wants to prove herself and belong to her adoptive group. In Najee: A Glimmer of Hope, Volume 1 in the Najee Series by Sarah Y. Westmoreland, the characters are well developed and the action moves at a steady pace. There are plenty of emotional ups and downs for Akinia as she continues to learn and grow but she is determined and surrounded by love and support. Najee: A Glimmer of Hope is complete by itself but leads smoothly into a continuation of the tale of the warriors responsible for the salvation of The Empire.

Rabia Tanveer

Najee: A Glimmer of Hope is Volume 1 in the Najee Series by Sarah Y. Westmoreland. It is almost a coming of age story, but it goes way beyond that. This is the story of a young girl who has to grow up a little too fast and then she has to live up to the impossible standards set by the people around her. Even though Akinia is a young girl, she shows maturity beyond her years, which reflects in her intelligence and the decisions she makes. Her development is amazing; she paces herself, understands herself and plays to her strengths. Akinia is, indeed, one of the most well-developed and mature protagonists that I have read this year.

Akinia has been living in a war-ravaged world for as long as she can remember. An orphan with a purpose, she becomes a Najee, a warrior, at the tender age of 14 and trains with the people alongside her. Learning to fight, killing enemies and dreaming of peaceful days are the only things she has to keep her going, moving forward and surviving. But when her Master believes that she is the Child of Prophecy who will save them all from this war, Akinia is terrified. She has no idea what she is supposed to do and how she is supposed to fight. But she knows one thing: she will do her best and survive!

Akinia is such a cool character. She is determined and strong, but at the same time she is vulnerable enough to know that she needs help. She is not afraid to show that she feels frightened at times, yet she doesn’t let it stop her or slow her down. Her struggle is real and relatable. She finds it hard to live up to the standard set by other people, but she is not afraid to try to live up to it. I liked how the author paced the story, how every dialogue added something new to the story and made it even more enjoyable. I enjoyed this novel immensely.

K.C. Finn

Najee: A Glimmer Of Hope is a work of science fiction by author Sarah Y. Westmoreland aimed at young adults. We begin in a war-torn world where generations of youngsters have grown up knowing nothing but conflict in the Empire. Akinia is a fourteen-year-old warrior already well experienced in the ways of war, so when she is chosen to fight as one of the prestigious Najee Warriors, her bloodlust and fighting skills only grow and grow. Her master, however, is a wiser man who can remember the days before the war began. Ko-Pau Klie believes that one young Apprentice will bring peace to the Empire at last.

Having reviewed Najee: Awakening some time ago, I was delighted to finally get the chance to go back and enjoy the beginning of Akinia’s story and her origins as a Najee warrior. Sarah Y. Westmoreland really knows how to transform the mindset of a young protagonist, taking us on quite a shocking journey into the mentality of a child soldier raised in a world of war. I found the whole situation with the Empire very atmospheric, creating a fantastic backdrop for Akinia to face her conflict about becoming a peacemaker against seemingly impossible odds. Ko-Pau was a very entertaining and enigmatic character to learn about, and Westmoreland’s dialogue was easy to read, flowing and natural. Overall, I’d definitely recommend Najee: A Glimmer of Hope and the series in general to teen and adult readers who enjoy warrior tales and stories of true goodness versus evil.

K.J. Simmill

Akinia was obsessed with learning, in fact, she had learnt to hack in order to expand the material she had access to. One thing she never discovered though was why she had been left as a nearly new-born baby at the orphanage, nor why the necklace, her only possession aside from a plain blanket, protested at anyone's touch but hers. She never thought herself destined for greatness, so the sudden arrival of the Najee to adopt her came as a surprise. In the blink of an eye she had become a warrior, one who needed training, but a warrior nonetheless. Never could she have imagined the future about to be laid out before her. She is the one they have been waiting for, now they must ensure she is ready for the task ahead.

Fans of Star Wars are bound to love Sarah Y Westmoreland's Najee: A Glimmer of Hope. As I was reading I saw a heavy influence that put me very much in mind of this popular science fiction movie. The Najee are much like the Jedi in the sense that they have their own special weapons, training, and a similar master-apprentice hierarchy. Akinia is a strong female protagonist and, despite being only 14, is very mature, reflective, and adaptable. She, along with other main characters, shows great growth and affinity. Allies and friendships form, trust and alliances build, but there is always the threat of something a little darker. Well-written and perfectly paced, this is one story that will keep you hanging on to the very end. Action, adventure, thrills, and chills from start to finish make this an amazing beginning to what looks to be a gripping and promising series.

Maureen Dangarembizi

Najee: A Glimmer of Hope is the first book in the Najee series by Sarah Westmoreland. There is a war going on in the galaxy between Sigadia and the Empire. While Sigadia has grown in strength, the Empire has become weaker and weaker, and only a prophesied child can save them. Akinia is a typical teen orphan whose friends spend their free time imagining a fairytale existence once they leave the orphanage. Akinia’s life will indeed change, just not how she expected. Master Ko-Pau Klie has come to the orphanage to make her his apprentice Najee. She soon finds out that she’s anything but an ordinary orphan. The necklace she received from her unknown parents actually means something and everyone is looking to her to save them from Sigadia.

This is a sci-fi coming of age novel echoing popular TV series like Star Wars and will appeal to sci-fi fans both young and old. Though a lot of concepts Sarah Westmoreland used are similar to Star Wars, such as super sharp Jedi-like swords that can block a blaster, this book has a completely different story. Najee: A Glimmer Of Hope hooks the reader from the start. Akinia is a protagonist readers will quickly sympathize with, not just because she has no family but because of her strong will and determination to carve out a life for herself. Like a typical teen, she can’t wait to get out and kick some bad guy butt but soon realizes her limitations. Her journey to the truth will be both a painful but amazing one. I can’t wait to get my hands on the next book in the series.