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Reviewed by Rosie Malezer for Readers' Favorite
Jesnia is a sci-fi romance by Marie Godley. Cassandra, known as Cassie, is an introvert who is painfully shy. When her English class welcomes new student Sheridan, Cassie is horrified to find that he is seated in the chair closest to her. After befriending Sheridan, however, Cassie agrees to go with him to Jesnia, another realm, to help save his kingdom. Once she arrives, Cassie meets Sheridan's family and the people of Jesnia and is tasked with locating a missing book that holds the key to Jesnia's survival. After hearing Jesnia's history from those in charge, Cassie uses her intuition, discovering that one of the locals is extremely offputting, to the scale of being toxic, and reports her findings to those in charge. When her warning goes unheeded, Cassie uses her judgment and follows her head and heart which leads to the untimely and shocking death of a fellow student who had harbored a well-kept secret.
While reading Jesnia, I was surprised to find a whole new level of writing from Marie Godley. Jesnia certainly piqued my interest and put my brain to work. And, just like the lead female character of the tale, I learned about a different society with people of alternate customs and behaviors. The romance between Cassie and Sheridan, while not often on display, was deeply felt regardless and their affection for each other grew day by day. I was able to relate to being accepted by a new family, having moved to another country years earlier, and seeing Sheridan's sister and mother wholeheartedly make Cassie feel welcome, while educating her in Jesnia's customs, made me smile. Cassie was quick to make friends and could always rely on friends and family in Jesnia, whereas her home life on earth was empty and hollow, with her parents barely acknowledging their daughter in the rare moments when they did come home. Jesnia is a very deep tale that will pull on the heartstrings of all who read it. I wholeheartedly recommend it to readers over the age of 15 who enjoy the sci-fi genre.