“Life for Gavin Durinden is about to change from puzzling to downright odd. An intellectual prodigy with blue hair and the ability to create energy from the marks on his palsm, he was always told he had a mysterious condition. However, when the scientists at NeoGen Labs begin treatments, everything changes, including the appearance of blue wings.”

Soriel by Melanie Nilles was, with some qualifications, a good read. The characters were engaging, the plot line interesting and original.

Gavin, aka Soriel, is a young man with issues and problems, something we can all relate to. He’s handling them as well as he can, which is pretty well considering the fact that he was born with blue hair and, after a “treatment” by his weirdly arrogant doctor, Gavin sprouts wings to match.

Then there is Kaira, proof positive that teenagers are the same the universe over: grumpy, angsty and irritable when they aren’t at the high point of the hormone rollercoaster. Not that she doesn’t have reason to gripe. Ripped from her home world for her own protection, longing for her parents and placed with an uncle she cannot wholly respect, Kaira’s attitude is more understandable, perhaps, than that of the average teen.

Both these characters grow and change through-out the novel, often in ways that are more interesting and surprising than the average. They are what made Soriel a good read.

Unfortunately, the novel was kept from being a great read due to flaws in the writing. Nilles does a lot of telling, rather than showing us through actions and words how the characters feel and why. Worse yet, she tells us the same thing multiple times. Though there is only one plot hole, (has Liriana actually killed people, or no?) and very few grammatical or mechanical errors, I found myself skipping passages which repeated information I’d already been given several times over.

Overall, Soriel was enjoyable. I like the characters and wouldn’t mind hearing more about them. There was nothing in the writing that couldn’t be fixed through the help of a critique group or beta readers, which I hope the author will seek in later versions. This is a great story, one that deserves to be told. Nilles has a lot of potential and I look forward to seeing her future work.

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Melanie Nilles grew up on a western North Dakota cattle ranch and farm and graduated with a degree in business administration from NDSU. She currently resides in central North Dakota with her family, cats, and horse. Her published works include the Starfire Angels series. As M.A. Nilles, she publishes darker adult fiction, including the fantasy Tiger Born, the first in her Demon Ages series.


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