book review, fantasy, young adult

Hecctrossipy by Bia Bella Baker

A Cinderella story with a difference. Prepare for heroines in the half shell and living liquid swimming pools.

On a distant planet/fantasy world live two sisters, Artheena and Mell May. At fifteen, they’ve just become adults, but neither humanoid, shell backed young woman can decide what she wants to do with her life.

Artheena is stunningly beautiful, intelligent, can communicate telepathically with plants, animals and the living water in their pool, and she takes pride in doing chores and helping the elderly. She’s also bossy, often thoughtless and self obsessed.

Mell May, Artheena’s adopted sister and best friend, has a troubled past, is average in appearance and aptitude, but is kind and caring to others, has a quirky sense of style and has hidden gifts.

There is one thing that the two sisters share, their love for celebrity musician Leandro Paul. When he announces he’s looking for a bride, everyone assumes he’ll choose Artheena. As the best in her village, how could he not?

Mell May and Artheena are interesting characters. From the plot description, I immediately took to humble, slightly lazy, average Mell May and she’s so obviously the heroine that it’s strange the author spends so much time with Artheena. However, Artheena is an interesting character in her own right, and I’m sure she’ll have a large part to play in future books in the series.

The book is full of hints of exciting things to come. There’s the Hecctrossipy of the title, a mythical eighty limbed monster that’s due to return. Audry, the sister’s below ground dwelling friend, is suffering from a mysterious illness. Mell May’s past, nightmares and odd survival as a child hint at a future chosen one plot. Then there’s red haired, lisping Dah Mackerel, who may or may not be Leandro Paul in disguise (my supposition entirely).

The problem is, Baker is more interested in explaining the minute of her world than in letting her characters live in it. The first 13% of the book is notes and backstory, and the final 13% is more notes on food, transport and water collecting. I applaud the author for working out the world in such detail, but I don’t want to know about it.

When Baker actually tells the story, Hecctrossipy is a great read. It’s engaging, entertaining and fun. Unfortunately, a lot of the book is bogged down in omniscient narration either telling the readers things that would be more fun to experience, or explaining how they do laundry.

I award Hecctrossipy

Hecctrossipy is available for $2.58 ebook and $11.90 print book on Amazon.

I received a free copy in exchange for an honest review.

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