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Reviewed by Romuald Dzemo for Readers' Favorite
Mike Shelton’s TruthSpell is an interesting young adult fantasy that explores the burden of unique gifts and one woman’s journey to connecting with her destiny. Shaeleen is entrusted with the delicate mission of protecting the stones of power and, as the privileged custodian of Truthstone, she is gifted with the rare ability to detect lies, but this isn’t a gift without dire implications. Every lie hurts her soul deeply. Now, on a mission to find Princess Diamonique and prevent a civil war, she must use her powers. Yet unexpected events related to a threat to the magic of Wayland compel her to take the road less travelled. Can she succeed, even with strong allies beside her? And can she handle the temptation to use the powerful gifts she’s endowed with for her own purposes?
The story is written in great prose, tightly plotted, and fast-paced. Mike Shelton’s characters are well-developed with solid backgrounds and they come across to the reader as real. What held my attention was the author’s deft handling of conflict, which is developed at different levels. First, the protagonist experiences a situation that leaves her in constant pain — the fact that she feels hurt deeply whenever she detects a lie and now every lie is accessible to her. She is a complex character who is struggling to understand who she is while fulfilling a very difficult mission. There are moments where readers will wonder if she can keep up. Then there is the physical conflict involving powerful characters and the tensions that shake a magical world. TruthSpell uproots you from your reality and compels you to follow the author’s imagination into an exciting setting with memorable characters. It’s a very interesting and engrossing read for young adult fantasy fans.