Book Review | Spirals of Destiny
Author: Jim Bernheimer
Spirals of Destiny, Book One: Rider, by Jim Bernheimer is the first book in the Rider series. Spirals of Destiny is a Sci-Fi Fantasy tale told from the perspective of teenager, Kayleigh Reese and Majherri, a unicorn.
In Spirals of Destiny, it is the dream of young girls to someday become battle maidens. Battle maidens are warriors who are selected based on a magical bond which they develop with a unicorn. Few girls manage such a bond; therefore, any one selected is in elite company. Kayleigh didn’t believe such a bond was possible for her. An outsider in her town of Helden, Kayleigh mostly spent her time helping her mother, an artist, while avoiding the cruel girls in town. Therefore, when Kayleigh touches Majherri and ignites a bond, it is beyond surprising. Hoping for a better future, a world in which she can finally belong, Kayleigh chooses to take the road towards the path of becoming a battle maiden/rider, despite the objections from her mother.
Majherri has something in common with Kayleigh, he’s also an outsider, mostly due to the fact that he is the only unicorn to ever survive the death of his/her rider. Ostracized by his fellow riders, as well as humans, Majherri had pretty much given up on life that is until he met Kayleigh. Not only had he become the first unicorn to survive the death of his/her rider, he also becomes the only one to bond with another rider. He is reluctant about the new bond, but believes that perhaps it’s a start in the right direction; after all, he’s no longer alone.
Kayleigh and Majherri are met with challenges upon arriving to the academy, in which trainees learn to become riders/battle maidens. Kayleigh, hoping to fit in, goes above and beyond her responsibility as lead rider, but nothing she does is enough, especially since her captain is Megan Lynch, the twin sister of her unicorn’s deceased rider. Lynch has a score to settle with Majherri and she fails to hide her bias. Adding, to her problems, Kayleigh appears to handle the magic from her bond, differently than anyone her instructors have ever seen, which creates a fear amongst the trainees, as well as instructors. Majherri on the other hand, is failing to get along well with the younglings, especially since he has been around many years longer than they have. Majherri is headstrong and a bit rude and he only desires to communicate with his new rider, gladly isolating himself from his kind. Majheri doesn’t want to admit it, but whatever happened on that fateful trip, which ended in the death of his first rider, has changed him.
Spirals of Destiny is a bit slow in some parts, particularly during Kayleigh’s training, but it managed to pull me in at just the right moment. Majherri’s and Kayleigh’s positions as outsiders lead them down a road which they never imagined was possible. They are met with challenges left and right, but it is those challenges which make them stronger, particularly, Kayleigh.
Bernheimer does an excellent job of world building and providing readers with an in-depth understanding of battle maidens. Most importantly, he makes readers care about Kayleigh and Majherri, which is sometimes a difficult task when writing from two perspectives. The tale ended on just the right note, which left me eagerly awaiting the next book in the series. Spirals of Destiny is not a usual Sci-Fi fantasy tale, but perhaps that is what makes it so endearing.
*I received a copy of this book to review but I was not financially compensated in any way. The opinions expressed are my own and are based on my observations while reading this novel.*