Romance - Paranormal
400 Pages
Reviewed on 04/04/2020
Buy on Amazon

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    Book Review

Reviewed by K.C. Finn for Readers' Favorite

Vitality is a work of fiction in the fantasy, paranormal and romance sub-genres, and was penned by author Crysta Levere. Written for adult readers, the work contains explicit language, scenes of an explicit sexual nature, and moments of graphic violence. A work which is not for the faint of heart, this dark and dynamic passion play takes us into the world of protagonist Ava, who moves to a new town to start again after a mental breakdown. Yearning to feel something new and fresh in life, Ava’s wish is answered in the most terrifying way by a dark figure who captivates her with his midnight black gaze. What follows is a descent into darkness and temptation that Ava must navigate and survive.

Author Crysta Levere has crafted a spellbinding dark fantasy work with plenty of passionate and unusual romance scenes. One of the things which I enjoyed about the novel was the fact that the psychological bonds between the central pairing are just as compelling as the physical action, which delivers a more complex issue for Ava to fight against and learn to understand within herself. Readers who enjoy dark paranormal romances will find themselves truly drawn in, even from the earliest pages, and the plot delivers excellent pacing and plenty of thrills and spills as the scenes play out. Overall, I would certainly recommend Vitality to fans of dark and graphic fantasy works as well as romance readers looking for a more sinister read than your average fairy tale.

K.J. Simmill

In Crysta Levere's Vitality, at nineteen Ava was starting over again. Lured to Aberdeen by a voice heard as whispers in the throes of madness. She is determined to put her unstable past behind her. Here no one knows her past, her hardships, her secrets. She was doing fine too until her housemate took her to an underground party and she laid eyes upon him. There was something about the dark-haired man that captured her attention, breeding an obsession as he consumed her thoughts. But he was perfection, and she was broken, held together by tape and madness. She is drawn to him like a moth to a flame, his dark presence fuel for the fire of her madness as he haunts her day and night. He wants to possess her, now she longs to be his but fears his embrace would destroy all. Little does she know that the truth, like her madness, plays close to the surface. How much of herself will she be willing to give, how much will he dare take when he realizes she is more than he imagined possible?

Crysta Levere's Vitality is an unusual addition to the paranormal/supernatural genre. It touches on things commonly associated with the genre and a healthy twist of something different. In this atmospheric tale, you are truly pulled down the rabbit hole and into madness as you follow Ava's journey into the depths of insanity and beyond. Filled with symbology and representations of walking the line between madness and sanity, where nothing is ever quite what it seems, fiction and truth become askew and confusion runs riot. Ava portrays a great strength of character, altering as her experience and alliances both temper and unravel her, opening her up to the part of herself she had closed off from everything. Many of the descriptions and conversations in this book are almost poetic in their imagery and philosophical musings, while her growing friendship with her housemates reveals another side to the tale. Confusion, mystery, longing, desperation, and deception weave throughout this three-part story and you'll be dying to know how everything ends.

Jamie Michele

Vitality by Crysta Levere is a paranormal fantasy romance that revolves around a young female protagonist named Ava. Ava has just moved to a new town to begin the next phase of life, running away from a past that is initially obscure. College is a delicate balance for Ava, an introvert who is able to camouflage with an illusion of strength even as hallucinations and haunted thoughts tear away at the facade. The town itself is mired in a dark mystery and undercurrents that seem to be well known among its residents, and among them is a young man named Layton, to whom Ava is irresistible. He sees in Ava the whole sum of who she is and what she embodies, and in him, she sees protection in an unknown realm—or at least that's what she believes as they race toward the point of no return.

Vitality provides a good story for readers who enjoy fantasy young adult romance and Crysta Levere delivers vivid imagery as she leads us through Ava's self-discovery in Layton's domain. The “things that go bump in the night” aspect is revealed with little build-up and is essentially the town's worst kept secret. I'm perfectly fine with cutting straight to the chase and not waffling about, but readers who prefer to linger before diving into a dangerous romance may find the story's foundation and pacing to be a bit thin. Where Levere truly shines is in the dialog. The conversations are incredibly authentic and the angst of Ava and Layton as well as the complexity of their situation are really well executed. There is a spine-tingling moment where Ava is so overcome by the magnitude of her circumstances that she breaks down with, “Out of all the people out here! Why me?” The book ends with a cliffhanger but not before a colossal revelation is made about Layton's origin and a cascade of emotion that accompanies questions surrounding love and eternity.

Rabia Tanveer

Vitality by Crysta Levere is a dark romance novel with hints of fantasy that will blow your mind. Our protagonist is Ava, a young woman who decides to move to Aberdeen, Massachusetts for a fresh start. She lives with a roommate who makes her feel normal and more like a person. So, when she is invited to an underground party, Ava accepts. However, she has no idea that one decision will change her life. She meets Layton, a man who looks dangerous and exudes danger too. But there is something about him that calls to her. Try as she might, she cannot stay away from him, and neither can he stay away from her. Ava wanted to step away from the mess her life has become, but now it seems like she is willing to complicate her life once again. What is it about Layton that calls to her? Should she give love a chance or stay away from the danger that will find her if she continues?

Crysta Levere takes the reader right into Ava’s life as Vitality begins. Ava is a little quirky, different from other people, and she knows it. You can tell how hard it is for Ava to make friends and to simply open up to them. But she gives them a chance and that is all she needs to find some comfort in her new surroundings. Her relationship with Layton is complicated, not normal, and not easy. They are two very different people, who are simple yet unique (you will know why when you read the story). The mystery of why Ava left her hometown, who is Layton, why Ava is so drawn to him, and why their relationship is so complicated slowly unfolds. The pace of the story is just fast enough to keep the story going without rushing anything. Crysta Levere’s writing style is so vivid that you will be lost in the story for a few hours. I thoroughly enjoyed every second of Vitality.

Vincent Dublado

Crysta Lever’s paranormal romance Vitality is a figurative reflection of how love can transcend reality. We follow the main protagonist, Ava, on her journey to finding her way back to society after suffering a mental breakdown. Moving into a new town as a therapeutic move, she encounters a stranger who appears too enigmatic and intimidating to walk among ordinary mortals. With trying to get herself back into the normal run of things, she wishes to renew her spark in life, to feel something, to feel alive. Ava gets more than she bargained for as this stranger haunts her in her sleeping and waking life. Then something dormant within Ava awakens—something in her blood that will make her fight for her life and cause the fate of the world to hang in the balance. And staying away from this stranger is not an option.

Crysta Lever’s prose is quite inviting from the very first page. She is generous with physical and thought descriptions without compromising the pace, although some readers might find that the details are not evenly distributed within scenes. As a first novel, Vitality displays a good effort in establishing characters and relationships so that readers are left in anticipation of the second installment and to find out what has happened to Ava’s mother. Compared to other paranormal romances, Vitality is darker and grittier as reflected in the characters’ attitudes and the story’s setting. It is not a clichéd plot where readers can predict what will happen in the middle and the end, as even they will be taken aback by the story’s ending that blurs the distinction between fantasy and reality.