Kyra's star ratings:
Story: * * * *
Characters: * * * *
Writing mechanics: * *
Emotional engagement: * * *
(For starters, I have to say that I'm not the target audience for this novel. I prefer novels written for adults, with adult characters in an adult voice, and Gemini of Emreiana is definitely a Young Adult novel, aimed at teens and at fans of that voice and style. So I've tried to adjust my reactions and opinions in this review to account for this.)
Gemini of Emreiana is a sweet, engaging novel that grows more powerful towards the end. Carson has always thought she was a normal girl, and has the normal teenage concerns about friends, romance, and what life will hold after high school. Then she learns that nothing about herself or her life is what she thought it was, and finally is forced to make some difficult, heartbreaking decisions to protect the people she loves and the planet she has always called home.
I found the characters engaging, and the romance between Carson and her childhood sweetheart Kyle was sweet. I also found the growing tension between Carson's love for Kyle and her mixed and confusing feelings for Aaronmon, her Emreianan guardian, intriguing. And, not to give away any spoilers, but more than one thing at the end nearly moved me to tears.
There are a couple of issues that, I feel, hold Gemini of Emreiana back from being the book it could be. The first is that while the writing style is clear and pleasant, there are places where I felt the story would have benefitted from a more in-depth, sophisticated treatment of emotions, backstory, and other issues. (I'll admit that this impression might be because I'm more used to novels written in an adult voice, while this lighter, "younger" voice may be more typical for YA writing, especially considering that the story is told in first person from Carson's point of view.)
The other thing is that the mechanics of the writing are not quite up to a professional standard. There are numerous problems with grammar, punctuation, misused words, and other similar issues. As an independent author, even if an editor is used, the author is ultimately responsible for the quality of the book and therefore needs to do whatever is necessary to make sure the book is as mistake-free as possible.
Overall, Gemini of Emreiana is an enjoyable book. Ms. DaRay has great potential as an author, and I look foward to watching her continued development.
Rating note: I changed my rating from 3 to 4 stars because I decided it was unfair of me to rate down a YA book for not sounding like an adult book.