To Nowhere, by C.E. Wilson

To Nowhere Final CoverIf you tell most teenagers not to do something, chances are that they’re going to do it anyway. Wyatt should have really thought it through before telling Lyris not to go into the strange room in the abandoned “haunted” house next door to where she and her parents just moved. If only she had listened…

But Wyatt originally wanted her to enter, but as he got to know her, he changed his mind, and they started dating. If only she had listened and not explored what was beyond the door…

The set-up of this review sounds like we’re entering The Twilight Zone. Rightfully so, because what Lyris finds beyond the door is another world right out of the classic 50s/60s television show. Actually, more like a different 60s sci-fi TV show: Irwin Allen’s Land of the Giants.

Lyris is soon picked up—literally—by a giant hand and examined by a giant pair of eyes (two different colors including a bright teal one—see the fantastic cover design). Then she is deposited into a cage (like a hamster) by her captor. Though giant, he’s a slightly younger teenager than she is, and his name is Brindt. In this world, humans are treated as pets, and Brindt’s mother sells the humans delivered to her to the highest bidder.

It seems Brindt wants to keep Lyris for himself, despite his mother’s demand that he not have his own pet. Teenagers do exactly what they’re parents tell them not to, even in the giant world. And right there is one of several themes deftly woven into this delicate narrative: No matter how we view one another (as monsters or insignificant), people are the same all over, no matter their size, no matter their shape (there’s a cute scene where Lyris notices Brindt’s ears are pointed instead of rounded like hers), and no matter their appearance (hair color is a significant detail in this story).

Another theme of the story is the importance of communication. The story is told from the first-person point of view of Lyris, so we know her desire to return home to parents that must be worried about her disappearance. Brindt and the giants speak another language, so his desires aren’t immediately known. The language that author C.E. Wilson invented for the giants is unique, and it was a lot of fun trying to figure out certain words as Lyris was struggling with them. Their inability to communicate leads to many misinterpretations. I won’t spoil anyone’s enjoyment of the story by mentioning any of these instances, but it was fun reading to the revelation of the correct interpretations.

And their communication is necessary if Lyris is to get home. Another theme is how trust must be built. Again, I’m as spoiler-free as I can be, but it was the trust that was earned and the character relationships that developed were genuine and organic in the story.

The stakes are built very well throughout the story because the four main characters (Lyris, Brindt, Wyatt, and Brindt’s mother) all have very clear objectives and employ a variety of tactics to achieve them. Their objectives are at odds with one another, and the situation only gets more dire for Lyris. Even the few other caged humans Lyris interacts with are well-developed characters.

This is clearly a Young Adult novel, as three of the main characters are of that age. Hmm…two boys and one girl sets up one of those love-triangles that have become commonplace in YA literature. I won’t call it a love-triangle in this story but instead a trust-triangle that is handled extremely well and enhances the enjoyment of the story and the characters.

My only little nitpicking with the story is that sometimes Lyris repeats the same thoughts and sometimes stays set in her ways when very clear evidence is presented to her. By no means, however, did this diminish my enjoyment of this unique tale.

I’ve always been a fan of Twilight Zone-type stories and stories about disparately sized people. When you throw in strong characters with strong motivations, I’m all in. FIVE GIANT STARS to To Nowhere.

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To Nowhere is available at Amazon.

Read the spotlight of author C.E. Wilson HERE.

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