Recommended: The Scorching by Libbi Duncan

The Scorching by Libbi Duncan is perhaps one of the most relatable YA fantasy novels I’ve read in a long time. Many of you may be disappointed, but I did not love reading The Hunger Games books and felt happy with watching the movies.

But, I am somewhat of a SciFi fan. (Star Trek, not Star Wars. Arguing is futile.) I was pleasantly surprised to find that, while seeking to expand outside my favored genre (thriller/mystery), fans of YA, fantasy and SciFi are sure to find something to like about The Scorching, which is the first in Duncan’s The Scorching Trilogy.

Madi is an eighteen-year-old who just dumped her douchey boyfriend—who happens to be what amounts to the heir of the human race, which escaped Earth during an apocalyptic event. Events escalate quickly as she finds out her parents, scientists for what she’s beginning to see is an out-of-control militaristic dictatorship, have been killed.

Or have they?

When Madi finds out her parents are alive on Earth, which appears to have healed from The Scorching, she and her ex escape his out-of-control father, the Commander, and crash on Earth.

Madi meets and fights with several alien races. Along the way, she finds out she’s telekinetic, falls in love with another young prince who chooses her over his own evolved version of humanity, and learns much more about her parents’ disappearance and how they relate to the Commander’s plans.

I won’t reveal any spoilers, but the characters and settings are familiar enough that they don’t take hundreds of pages of worldbuilding (of which I am not a fan as a thriller/mystery guy). And the ending sets up a new adventure while keeping you in a familiar, but still different, setting.

The bottom line, for me, is that I will read the second book in the series (Ashes) and am looking forward to the release of the third.

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