The last thing sixteen-year-old Alaina Oftedahl-Miller expected was to watch her mom brutally destroy their life.
But, in the wake of tragedy, strength forms. Shipped off to live with her birth father, Alaina finds herself dealing with more than just being the new Canadian girl in a Norwegian school. Juggling the formation of a relationship with the man who abandoned her as a child, and a budding attraction to Kaius Vargøy — the mysterious, beautiful classmate who’s been assigned as her personal translator — Alaina can’t shake the feeling that every move she makes is being watched. Judged.
She soon learns there’s far more to this sleepy Norwegian town than she ever imagined. Kaius and his friends aren’t exactly what they seem, and the repercussions of that could send her traveling through the most unexpected experience of her life. Murder and relocation is one thing, but add in supernatural occurrences and Vikings, and even she may not have the strength to survive.
Okay, so before I jump into my review of Flux, can we just take a moment to admire that cover? Creative Director Ashely Ruggirello really outdid herself on this one. She’s a brilliant designer, and in case any of you are interested in acquiring some of her brilliance for yourself, she freelances. (Her website is here.)
All right, back to business. Flux is an intriguing title, blending historical fiction with paranormal romance in a way I really hadn’t ever seen before. It starts, quite literally, with a bang as fifteen-year-old Alaina witnesses the brutal murder of her step-father at the hands of her deranged mother. This event becomes the catalyst for her journey to Norway nine months later, where she’s reunited with the birth father she thought had abandoned her. What seems like a simple story of tragedy and healing soon takes an interesting twist though — otherwise known as Kaius Vargøy, the next-door neighbor who also happens to have been assigned as her translator at school.
It’s immediately apparent that Kaius and his friends are not entirely what they seem, and while there are shades of Twilight echoing through that mystery, the reality couldn’t be further from that. I won’t give away the twist, but suffice it to say, it’s not one you will be expecting. Once the truth is revealed, the story takes yet another unexpected turn, catapulting Alaina and friends back in time to 12th century Norway. Surrounded by Vikings, strange customs, and a looming war with an evil she knew nothing about, Alaina’s strength is put to the test.
But despite the fantastical elements, this is, at its heart, a very human story. Fraught with emotional struggles and very real choices, Flux is about the strength of the human spirit, overcoming demons, and ultimately, the importance of love and acceptance. Steeped in Norwegian culture, Carstens has provided a refreshing voice in a genre that is bordering on stale. It is the first in a trilogy, but doesn’t leave you with an intense cliff-hanger. For that, I’m thankful, but I’m also definitely looking forward to the next installment.
If you’d like to find out more about Flux or Ellie, be sure to check out the REUTS Publications official website. And if you just want to buy it, it can be found in both print and eBook at the usual online retailers. Happy reading! 🙂