The Tethering by Megan O'Russell

Imagine that while living a very menial life at best, your entire existence is interrupted by a world you thought only occurred in books of legend? Further, imagine that you are told that you yourself are a part of this mystical world, and have the chance to be whisked away to the realms of all things unbelievable so that you may become a part of the grand scheme of a race that has been suspect of existence for centuries, but never aptly confirmed. This is the crossroads at which Jacob evens finds himself, and the path he takes will forever change his destiny and to whom that destiny is bound.

In her debut novel, O’Russell does an astounding job at creating a stark contrast between the world that Jacob inhabits in the beginning, and the world that he is introduced to upon the discovery of his magical talents, even though those two realms exist one within the other. However, the only world that Jacob wants to be in is the world that includes his best friends, and consequently the not-so-secret love of his life, Emilia Gray.

Time passed just as it does, and the ever perfect high school student found himself receiving a call from the principle to immediately come to his office, Jacob obliges and makes his way to the office, where the news that awaited him was of the grimmest nature. Upon receiving this heart breaking news, all of the emotions in him began to swell, and even though the principle continued to talk, Jacob was lost in his emotions. Until the windows blew in. Suddenly he found himself on the floor being shielded by the body of the principle. It was later discovered that all the glass within the building had exploded, and was assumed a terrorist attack upon the school. What were the odds that Jacob would receive such horrible personal news and have such a large catastrophe happen around him in the same day? Too stricken with grief to give it much thought, Jacob ignored the question rumbling around in his head, and instead headed to his empty home, to lick his wounds and morn his loss. Then Emilia showed up.

As it turns out, Emilia and her family are of the race of Magickind, specifically witches and warlocks, and very astute ones at that. Where that not unbelievable enough, upon his arrival Emilia’s aunt, Aunt Iz, informed him that he too, was of their kind. The alleged terrorist attack at the school was in fact a very large and accidental display of the powers that Jacob possessed. In his emotional turmoil, his magic had unleashed accordingly, resulting in the unfortunate and unintentional destruction of the school. The Manson House where he now found himself, was actually a place of training for witches and warlocks, and Jacob had been brought there to decide whether or not he wanted to enter in this world in which he had always believed was myth.

There is a delicate balance in this piece between one very ordinary world, and one mythical world that exists in the pocket of and sometimes right out in the middle of this very regular world. O’Russells composition of these two worlds is complete and believable, right to the very last detail. The amount of depth in which she provides to build such a place that pulls you in so that you yourself believe that such a story could actually be true requires an immense amount of talent. A talent that is displayed on every page of the book and should be recognized for the brilliance that it represents.

O’Russell’s book is of the YA genre, which at this time I feel is the most competitive of genres to try and debut a novel. However I have no doubt that this novel will still come out on top. It is similar enough to the ideals that the most successful books of the genre contain, yet original enough to not simply be one of the same. This book is full of creativity and ingenuity that has yet to be displayed in any of the current YA novels out there in my opinion, and I have read the majority of the ones that currently line the shelves.

O’Russell’s debut is one that will command notice. This first novel provides a strong foundation on which an impending series will be built, and I for one and on the edge of my seat to see where she takes Jacob, Emilia, and the rest of her characters on their journey to save the integrity of Magickind. I give this book five out of five morals. I genuinely enjoyed this page turner, and am anxiously awaiting the arrival of the next installment in The Tethering series.