TCK Publishing brings a lot of new authors to light, and one of their latest is Jenna Ryan. Her debut novel, The Channeler: A Future Forewarned (Continuum Series Book 1), was published in January 2019. Classified as a young adult fantasy romance novel, Ryan covers a lot of ground in the book’s 241 pages. The story, told in first person by protagonist Caleb Michael Swift, nicely captures the college experience while mixing in copious amounts of supernaturally inspired angst. Caleb seeks a normal life as he navigates his junior year in college. He has lived with his “aunt” Nikki from a very young age. Readers eventually find out that Nikki isn’t really his aunt. She was his mother’s dearest friend, and she took him in after his mother’s untimely death. Caleb never knew his father, and as the story unfolds, he learns some very surprising things about him.
From the time Caleb was a toddler, he has had a winged friend named Gabriel who comes to visit him when he really needs him most. He doesn’t know exactly what Gabriel is, only that he is his friend, even if nobody else can see him.
Starting when Caleb was a mid-teen, he developed a unique ability – he started having visions of possible futures which continue to plague him in adulthood. Some are terrifying while others are more mundane, but they strike unpredictably. Although he gets a very brief warning that one is coming, his more intense visions often take a serious physical toll on him. His best friend and confidant, Gavin, knows more than most about Caleb’s unique personal situation including Caleb’s visions, Gabriel’s existence, and even that Caleb can see more winged creatures around that nobody else seems to notice.
Overall, the story moves along at a good clip, focused through Caleb’s eyes. Readers get a very good picture of Caleb’s physical appearance, his capabilities (both nominal and supernatural), his state of mind, and his thought processes. Readers get a fairly complete picture of Gavin as well given his importance in Caleb’s life. Readers don’t know Nikki quite as well, but they understand that she cares deeply about Caleb and his well-being.
Ryan deftly keeps the point of view on Caleb. As such, many of the other characters’ motivations and thoughts remain unknown. Over time, other people enter Caleb’s life in a very unique and unexpected way. One important character Caleb encounters is Darla Adair, a classmate with whom he not only shares piercing blue eyes, but also an unexpected, and initially inexplicable, connection. There is suspense surrounding Caleb’s visions, particularly a recurring vision that has him bewildered and panicked. He needs to decipher what it means and determine how to stop it from coming true.
Because of the story’s perspective, most of the characters are somewhat underdeveloped. In addition, an eventual confrontation feels somewhat unfinished, and its motivation is largely hidden. As such, some of Caleb’s story remains a mystery with many possibilities dangled in front of readers, whetting their appetites for more.
The Epilogue is also told in first person, but instead of remaining in Caleb’s head, the story moves into Darla’s. At first, because of the change in perspective, a few new discoveries come to light, but there are also more questions posed. The overall story doesn’t so much end, as set up for the next installment in the series.
The Channeler: A Future Forewarned (Continuum Series Book 1) – Amazon purchase through A Good Reed Review
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The Channeler: A Future Forewarned (Continuum Series Book 1) – Amazon purchase through Jenna Ryan