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Reviewed by Francine Zane for Readers' Favorite
In XODUS by K.J. McPike, Lali’s sixteenth birthday is marred by the absence of her mother, who disappeared two months prior, but equally disturbing is discovering intruders in her home. The fear related to that discovery triggers a unique ability to astral project. Little does Lali know how her new ability is tied into her mother’s disappearance and a twenty-year-old battle against the evil forces of her mother’s home world.
XODUS provides a dark, mysterious hero who shows up just in time to help Lali understand her powers. Their give and take interaction adds another layer of tension that kept me reading. I enjoyed the underlying empowerment given to all of the children so suddenly abandoned by their mother, while I could have done without the Cinderella reference of Lali, as the oldest, doing the majority of the cooking and cleaning instead of a more balanced division of the duties by the entire family. The youngest daughter is adorable. McPike clearly understands children and was able to capture the nine-year-old's personality.
K.J. McPike builds a whole new world as the backstory to the paranormal happenings in this world. She artfully balances the current storyline of Lali learning to control her astral projection abilities with enough history to explain how her family ended up in their current predicament. I enjoyed how XODUS makes the development of paranormal powers a process that reminds me as a reader to understand how much work, and sometimes bruises, it takes to be good at something new. I recommend XODUS and am looking forward to the next installment in the Astralis Series.