Kat Bowers and Becky Thatcher gave up their normal lives on Earth when they were transported to the magical land of Oren. Becky discovered the Unifier, brought the three Elementals together, and, by working together, they defeated the evil sorcerer Nandor. Now the land of Oren is safe; however, it is far from being secure. The Elementals’ magic has gone haywire along with the magic of the land. A group known as the Coalition has risen, spreading anti-magic sentiments from village to village and causing those without magical abilities to despise those who do. With a new evil threatening Oren, Kat knows she must make a difficult decision. She must discover what is making her magic go crazy, but before she can, she must make sure Becky is safe… back on Earth. The two girls now find themselves on a new adventure that takes them through territory more dangerous than ever imagined and an adventure they may not even survive.
Author Jenna Greene gave her readers a classic good old-fashioned fairy tale in Imagine. While the first proved to be a non-political and wonderful means of escaping reality through a young adult fantasy prospective, the second in her series proved to be an incredible transition from a young adult means of escape to an enthralling and captivating tale to hold the attention of any reader of any age. What else can be said other than that Reality will give fantasy fans EXACTLY what they are looking for in a fantasy story: adventure, quests, magic, magic gone haywire, mystical creatures both new and known, and so much more.
Let us begin with Greene’s storytelling skills. Her skills of grasping readers’ attention have not waned and, while they were to be commended in Imagine, taking readers down a fun path of unlikely seemingly powerless characters taking down a powerful sorcerer, these skills have grown in strength in Reality. Sure, many readers have completed series of fantasy where, come the end, evil is vanquished; however, how many stories truly continue beyond that? Reality is one of those rare fantasy gems that takes readers beyond “happily ever after” and turns it into something a bit more sinister. The magic the Elementals did not even know they housed and the magic they had barely come to grasp to take down the Sorcerer Nandor is now beyond their control. While the other Elementals try to tame this seemingly uncontrollable magic, Kat wants to send Becky back to Earth and away from the danger of Oren. And while all of this is going on, the young Prince Renin wishes to travel back to the kingdom of Areth to claim the throne that is rightfully his. Greene splits her story into three and all three paths will captivate and take readers of all ages on an adventure they will be anxious to follow.
Due to Reality splitting off in three separate directions, the story moves quickly, but in a way where readers will not wish to put it down. One story leads characters on an adventure with two girls, who began as strangers, but unite as sisters, who partake in a seemingly impossible quest through unknown territory to possibly send one of them back to where they came from. Another story follows two people who discover they have magical abilities they no longer can control and, on top of those facts, people begin to fear magic due to a group that has arisen known as the Coalition Against Magic. And a final story about a young prince who journeys back to his home kingdom knowing he must take over the throne, but unknowing of the complications he has in store for him when he returns to his kingdom. Without giving away spoilers, each of these trails branches off to a story that will reach out to and intrigue an audience beyond the young adult one Greene had intended. Like its predecessor, Reality offers its characters some prophecy, an excellent portion of ‘what the heck is going on?’, and then sent off to where they should begin their journey with the additional knowledge that they may not even arrive where they need to go alive. All excellent makings of an intriguing fantasy tale.
If anything, the most enticing characters of the story are the two the fantasy series began with: Kat and Becky. After everything they endured together in Imagine, these two have beautiful development in Reality; having grown closer together, having had a chance to grow up in a way they could not believe, and having endured even more in the second book than ever thought possible. Both Kat and Becky act beyond the years of a 16 year old teenager and a 10 year old girl. Kat has amazing development and does not act like the angsty teenager she was before, only wanting what is best for Becky: to send her home and away from danger. Becky has matured beyond her years and wishes to stay to help discover what is causing the magic of Oren to go haywire, yet is accepting of her own absence of magical abilities and understands she is safest back on Earth. The strength these two find in one another is still amazingly strong, if not stronger, and their sisterly bond grows equally as strong through the duration of the story.
The evil threatening a magical land has been defeated… what happens now? Reality is the sequel to a good old-fashioned fairy tale and what can happen after “happily ever after”. Greene has strengthened her incredible storytelling skills in the second book of her fantasy series and has captivated the attention of more than her intended young adult audience. This sequel is one that splits into three separate stories that flow beautifully on their own. Each narrative is so incredibly detailed and descriptive and creates a reading experience that flows and allows readers to easily see what is happening within their minds. It is a story that is difficult to put down and picks up shortly after where Imagine left off. With its incredible conclusion, readers will wish to pick up a copy of Heritage immediately after completing Reality, wishing to know more about the adventures of Kat, Becky, and the friends and allies they have met along their adventures.