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Reviewed by K.J. Simmill for Readers' Favorite
In Imania Margria's The Pacemaker, Minerva had fought tooth and nail through the five years of life she remembered. She had learned she could not trust anyone. To survive was to be alone. But when she was accepted into Calendula University, a prestigious school thought to be the best in the country, her outlook had to change, especially if she didn't want to mess up this opportunity. This university was for prodigies and academic geniuses, but like everything that seemed so perfect on the outside, there were secrets, skeletons in the closet that were spoken about in whispers, just like the curse. Minerva soon learns there may be more to this curse than superstition and coincidence, and if she wants to protect those she finds herself drawn to, she must act. But doing so comes with its own difficulties, like snippets of her forgotten past, a strange power, and the unnerving landscape of Neverworld. Will she survive to discover the truth of the curse and her own haunted past?
The Pacemaker is book one in Imania Margria's Pacemaker series. The cliques and class structure made for a tense atmosphere of snobbery, exclusion, and gossip, while others looked beyond social class and found a good friend in Minerva, one who would risk everything to keep them safe. I enjoyed watching Minerva slowly lowering her guard and starting to trust people while operating in a place far beyond her own comfort. She faces challenges and hardships made more daunting by her life experience, and the air of claustrophobia and suffocation is well portrayed. I enjoyed the atmosphere of this book which was portrayed beautifully through the third-person narrative. Action, heartbreak, suspicion, and doubt drive the plot forward as Minerva seeks answers, finding herself involved in a supernatural world she knew nothing about. Dark themes intertwine with the joy of friendship and finding a place to belong. Anyone enjoying a good plot with strong characters and a supernatural theme should give this book a try.