Looking for Dei

Looking for Dei

Fifteen-year-old Nara Dall has never liked secrets. Yet it seems that her life has been filled with them, from the ugly scar on her back to the strange powers she possesses. Her mysterious father refuses to say anything about her origins, and soon, she and her best friend must attend the announcement ceremony, in which youths are tested for a magical gift.A gifted youth ha...

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Title:Looking for Dei
Author:David A. Willson
Rating:
Edition Language:English

Looking for Dei Reviews

  • Christopher Schmitz

    David A. Willson’s Looking For Dei is a wonderful new YA novel. It is listed under YA Fantasy and Urban Fantasy… I’m not sure that it quite fits either of those molds. It also isn’t quite an apocalyptic dystopia, but there are minor elements of all those genres, making modern teen readers feel right at home with the themes.

    The story follows a few different POVs but mainly focuses on Nara and Mykel; Nara has a mysterious heritage and Mykel, her friend can empathize with her because of a birth def

    David A. Willson’s Looking For Dei is a wonderful new YA novel. It is listed under YA Fantasy and Urban Fantasy… I’m not sure that it quite fits either of those molds. It also isn’t quite an apocalyptic dystopia, but there are minor elements of all those genres, making modern teen readers feel right at home with the themes.

    The story follows a few different POVs but mainly focuses on Nara and Mykel; Nara has a mysterious heritage and Mykel, her friend can empathize with her because of a birth defect. Looking for Dei evoked the same kinds of feeling that I get when watching the televised Shanara Chronicles. For the most part it’s good, but it’s also sometimes soooo YA slanted. But like I said: good. The story also evokes some themes of Madeleine L’Engle that I enjoy (themes of good vs evil and some very positive tropes that border on allegory in many respects.)

    Willson is his own writer and while there are tropes present (without overt spoilers, you’ll see what I mean when you encounter the light and dark dualism personified) he clearly isn’t ripping off anyone else’s story (I’m looking at you Paolini) and has crafted his own universe. I felt the universe took a little bit to unfold and would’ve liked to see the action unfold earlier than it did, but world-building can take time. I particularly enjoyed the little “flavoring” snippets such as quotes from the fictional holy texts like Cataclysmos—they really added a layer of depth that helps in more than just building a mythos, but drawing a reader into it.

    This is, over all, an enjoyable read and a good fit for pretty much any audience that enjoys YA or fantasy reads. I got my copy as an ARC to review for my Inside the Inkwell Blog.

  • Amelia

    I got an e-copy ARC of this book from NetGally in return for an honest review. This book was a quick read. Took me a day because I was also studying for exams. The plot was interesting however the writing was a bit scattered. There was a a lot of information dumps which made it a bit dull to read as the author tended to drag out character descriptions. But it was interesting enough to keep reading.

  • Salma

    Was unexpectedly thrilled by the quality of this book! Amazing settings, characters, feelings, and the ups and downs got me dizzy--in a good way! One thing I found particularly enthralling was the change in point of view from chapter to chapter, it definitely kept things interesting. Would definitely recommend to a friend!

  • Pages For Thoughts

    The author wrote great imagery and the world felt real, as if I was in it. The plot development was very smooth. I really enjoyed the pace of this book, which held my interest. I was extremely hooked on Nara and Kayna's story. The contrast between Nara and Kayna is striking, considering that they are twins. Nara takes life for granted while Kanya finds joy in taking lives. The concept of the "broken" ones having special gifts is an interesting twist that I enjoyed, sort of the opposite of real l

    The author wrote great imagery and the world felt real, as if I was in it. The plot development was very smooth. I really enjoyed the pace of this book, which held my interest. I was extremely hooked on Nara and Kayna's story. The contrast between Nara and Kayna is striking, considering that they are twins. Nara takes life for granted while Kanya finds joy in taking lives. The concept of the "broken" ones having special gifts is an interesting twist that I enjoyed, sort of the opposite of real life, but also an inspiration. Read more of my review at

  • Josie Jaffrey (The Gin Book Club)

    This was a great YA novel. I was intrigued by the world that the author had created from the beginning; it was inventive and atmospheric. The magical runes did remind me somewhat of Cassandra Clare, but the way the author used them and the variety of the rest of the fantasy elements meant that the novel had originality.

    Nara was a good protagonist. She was believable and likeable, if a little wet at times. A varied and interesting cast supported her and I really liked the fact that the story wasn

    This was a great YA novel. I was intrigued by the world that the author had created from the beginning; it was inventive and atmospheric. The magical runes did remind me somewhat of Cassandra Clare, but the way the author used them and the variety of the rest of the fantasy elements meant that the novel had originality.

    Nara was a good protagonist. She was believable and likeable, if a little wet at times. A varied and interesting cast supported her and I really liked the fact that the story wasn’t all about Nara; it touched equally on those around her, their emotional challenges and development. Mykel was obviously the romantic lead from the beginning, however there wasn’t really any actual romance in the story, it was more to do with Nara’s realisation of her feelings, and I suspect the author is saving the development of their romance for book two.

    There is a faith element to the book, in that Nara is effectively searching for proof that Dei exists, and I was constantly worried that the book was going to focus on that and become preachy, but thankfully the author didn’t take it in this direction (for which I was eternally grateful!).

    I found the ‘one good twin, one evil twin’ a bit predictable and there were certain sections, the training and discovery of the cave in particular, which dragged for me. I felt that the author lost his way a little, going into too much detail where it just wasn’t needed. I also wasn’t keen on the author's repeated use of rhetorical questions; it was overused and made the story seem overly melodramatic.

    Overall, it was different, which I appreciate with a YA novel. I really enjoyed it and would be interested to see where the next book (assuming there is one) takes the characters. In particular I’m hoping that Nara will become stronger, in all senses of the word, as I think she has the potential to be an excellent lead.

    The good:

    I really liked the world that the author built and I thought the characters contrasted well.

    The bad:

    I found the pacing to be a little off at times.

    The Gin Book Club received a copy of this book from the author in return for an honest review.

  • Rebekah

    Looking for Dei was such a delicious YA high fantasy read!! The world and magic system were so incredibly unique, and the writing was beautiful! If you love high fantasy and any kind of magic, I know that you would really enjoy this book! It's one of those books that I feel is much too underrated for the quality of the fantastical world.

    The writing did not catch me from the very beginning, like a story should. But the writing was still great, and I definitely became more interested in the story

    Looking for Dei was such a delicious YA high fantasy read!! The world and magic system were so incredibly unique, and the writing was beautiful! If you love high fantasy and any kind of magic, I know that you would really enjoy this book! It's one of those books that I feel is much too underrated for the quality of the fantastical world.

    The writing did not catch me from the very beginning, like a story should. But the writing was still great, and I definitely became more interested in the story as it went on!

    This world is so genius! I love the symbolism of the gods and the "scriptures," which are like Greek mythology. The whole magic system with gifted young people was really unique, and I loved that element of the story. Learning about the world was probably my favorite part of the novel, which is really important for a fantasy novel in my opinion.

    The characters were also really great! And there were a lot of characters; it was almost too many in the beginning. But they all came together eventually, and everything made more sense. The characters were all rounded very well, and I loved their relationships with each other. 

    This whole novel was intricate and detailed, like a good high fantasy should be! I loved the world, writing, and characters. I highly recommend this book!

  • Jorryn

    Looking for Dei is the story of a prophecy involving twins, and one of the twins is the main character. Nara is a teenage girl with secret abilities she is trying to hide from an annual tradition that exposes people with powers. Although Nara isn't discovered one of her friends is deemed to be cursed, causing her, a father figure, and her friend to all run away.

    One of my biggest issues with this book was the cliches. We had Nara, who was not like other girls. "Nara didn't fit in with the other g

    Looking for Dei is the story of a prophecy involving twins, and one of the twins is the main character. Nara is a teenage girl with secret abilities she is trying to hide from an annual tradition that exposes people with powers. Although Nara isn't discovered one of her friends is deemed to be cursed, causing her, a father figure, and her friend to all run away.

    One of my biggest issues with this book was the cliches. We had Nara, who was not like other girls. "Nara didn't fit in with the other girls, and she wondered what Mykel saw in her. She didn't look like the other girls either, with bright-red hair that others often commented on- hair that stood out in a crowd." (Location 138 from the kindle edition) Then alongside that her best friend Mykel was in love with her, but she didn't love him back. Also Nara was not a particularly strong lead until around the end of the book. She was fueled by her powers but she wasn't much of a fighter. All she really did was heal people.

    This book also contained a lot of information dumps where the author just wrote a character's entire story. From reading a few paragraphs I knew everything there was to know about Gwyn or Mykel because the information dumps covered everything. In the span of three paragraphs I knew how the characters looked and also their tragic backstories.

    When I started this book I was not expecting their to be more than one character's point of view. I think the element of getting more than one character's perspective really made this story more three dimensional. Willson wrote chapters from the perspective of both the protagonists and antagonists. The points of views changed without a certain order, which sort of bothered me because I was never sure what character I was about read about.

    The last thing I have to complain about is that there were several misspellings and typos in the arc copy I read, so I hope that these are all cleaned and polished before the book actually releases in the Spring.

    Now, onto the good stuff! Willson masterfully creating a aura around this book. I don't even know how to describe it, the entire book just felt unique and real. The characters were diverse and easy to tell apart from on another. Willson also came up and used some creative names for his characters, which was refreshing. Unique names without the pain of trying to figure out how to pronounce them.

    The book was a quick read that only took me a little over three hours of complete. I read almost all of it in one sitting than finished it up the next day. Quick reads are amazing, I love when I get can through a book without it taking a long time.

    I would like to thank NetGalley for providing me an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.

  • Sherry Fundin

    Looking for Dei by David A Wilson starts out with a childhood memory and I’m hoping that means good things are to come. But…the old man…

    Mykel and Nara are best friends. Would he like more? Maybe, but he is patient young man. With his scar, he feels inferior, but she doesn’t pay any attention to it. After all, her is bigger, though hidden.

    Bylo, her sort of father, loved her, raised her and helped keep her secret. He brought her to Dimmit to hide her, protect her. The announcement exposes them…I k

    Looking for Dei by David A Wilson starts out with a childhood memory and I’m hoping that means good things are to come. But…the old man…

    Mykel and Nara are best friends. Would he like more? Maybe, but he is patient young man. With his scar, he feels inferior, but she doesn’t pay any attention to it. After all, her is bigger, though hidden.

    Bylo, her sort of father, loved her, raised her and helped keep her secret. He brought her to Dimmit to hide her, protect her. The announcement exposes them…I knew that would happen, but now what. Is flight the only option? Leave everyone and everything they have ever known?

    Our journey has begun, and at twenty eight percent in my Kindle, I see the evil coming their way.

    When I first started reading Looking for Dei by David A Wilson, I wondered why I grabbed this ARC for review. Was it just the pretty cover? lol I am a sap for a pretty cover. As I began reading, I found out why. My curiosity and desire for Nara, Mykel and Bylo’s journey made me feel better.

    Betrayal won’t stop them, and sometimes things are not as they appear. People can and do change. And love…does it conquer all?

    Lots of action happening on many fronts. I wonder what will happen when all the characters come together. Will the bad characters stay bad? Is there no leeway for, at least, some of them to do the right thing?

    Looking for Dei by David A Wilson did not go the way I thought it would, but I did enjoy the story and the characters. Is there a happy ever after? I always want to think so. I got into the romance and magic, but I felt no sense of urgency, even when I knew danger was coming. If you are a reader of young love, magic, mystery and danger, this may be one for you.

    I voluntarily reviewed an ARC of Looking for Dei by David A Wilson.

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  • Marie -The Reading Otter

    So, not going to rate because I didn't finish it...

    This book just never did grab me at all.

    I was uninterested in the characters shortly after they were introduced, the plot didn't feel very thought out to me. It's written like it's part of a series, I skipped to the end to see I wanted to finish it, but I didn't see any other books on the author's Goodreads page.

    I was never able to really picture the world, and the magic system I personally don't think was explained very well.

    This

    So, not going to rate because I didn't finish it...

    This book just never did grab me at all.

    I was uninterested in the characters shortly after they were introduced, the plot didn't feel very thought out to me. It's written like it's part of a series, I skipped to the end to see I wanted to finish it, but I didn't see any other books on the author's Goodreads page.

    I was never able to really picture the world, and the magic system I personally don't think was explained very well.

    This book had potential, but everything just felt a little dull to me, nothing grabbed my attention. The characters, the world, the setting, the magic system, all of was just average to me.

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