Thursday, March 10, 2022

Marina Vivancos - All That Has Flown Beyond

Kaiyo’s bloodline has been part of the Garrow pack for generations. He has been destined to be shaman, to anchor the werewolves to the land, and lend aid with the force of his Ousía. When Kaiyo is fourteen, however, an attacking group kills all of the adults in the pack, leaving young Ahmik, only fifteen, as leader.
Their worries don’t end there.
Smelling blood in the water, enemies hunt the decimated pack from all sides. Kaiyo grows increasingly reckless in his desperation to defend his pack, to finally grow into his shaman powers, and to protect Ahmik: the boy he loves.
In the end, Kaiyo loses his pack anyway.
Packless, landless, Kaiyo drifts. For ten years, he fights to remake himself into the shaman, and the man, he was meant to become. One phone call from his old pack, though, and he is forced to return.
Something is killing children and Kaiyo is the only one strong enough to stop it.
Kaiyo never thought his journey would take him back to his old land, his old pack, and to Ahmik. Forced to face his past, and the wounded love that still aches for Ahmik, Kaiyo will be tested like never before.

Comment: This is the second story I read by the author and since I enjoyed the first one I read, and this one being a sort of sequel - or at least it's set in the same world - I was even more curious to keep reading about this world of shifters.

In this book, we meet a different cast of characters, belonging to a different pack from those we've met in the first book. This new group has a younger group of people and one of them, Kaiyo, who should have inherited the shaman position, is already 18 and not manifesting any powers. They all know the pack might seem weaker because of this, even though the surrounding packs aren't enemies and can actually help if necessary. However, Kaiyo acts recklessly, apparently uncaring about the healthy bonds of the pack and this forces the others to sever his bond within the pack. After such a harsh decision, Kaiyo is left adrift, in a sea of despair and barely functioning until he reaches rock bottom. 
With the help of his mother, however, he gets help and starts therapy, as well as his self journey to becoming a shaman for that is when his powers finally manifest. The following years see Kaiyo becoming an apprentice and learning so much about being a shaman, dedicating himself to it to the point his work starts to be recognize worldwide and he travels everywhere to help other packs. Things finally reach a reckoning moment when his old pack is in need of help...can he let go of the past to be who they need?

I liked reading this book. I think that, although debatable when it comes to therapy methods, the fictional part of things and the characters themselves made this an engrossing read. While not every part felt the pace was right, I was still touched by some of the things Kaiyo went through and actually think his recovery was quite quick for the amount of sadness and hurt he had.

Still, that is precisely one of the points of this novel: people don't all process deep feelings the same way, especially the negative ones.What works for some, might not for others, even if the situations might seem similar. I liked the way Kaiyo went on his self healing journey but of course someone more knowledgeable in the field or a professional in the area might have a different opinion on whether what is included can be taken as a possibility or not.

The book is divided into two parts: the severance of the bond and how Kaiyo goes from accepting it to falling into depression and all that it entails. We also see how he slowly starts healing and believing in his powers and newfound abilities, to the point where he becomes a strong shaman and quite requested to help other packs. This leads him into a life of learning, of respecting nature and all that is entailed in the life of a pack and how balanced life should be. I suppose this section was a little rushed and he did seem to become too good too quickly but for fiction purposes of the plot I can accept it.

The second part is how, by doing something very especial in saving the life of a child in his old pack, he can't keep the balance his powers demand and that forces him to remain while balance is restored. As one can imagine this is quite a task, for he needs to live with and near the people who banned him. Of course any fiction reader would guess where this would go and it becomes rather obvious how the close proximity and the interactions rekindle old feelings and emotions, especially the romantic ones...

I felt the romance was a bit too...easy, in a way. It's predictable but also, since we only have Kayio's POV (although narrated in third person), one sided and I wish I could have had access to Ahmik's thoughts, Kayio's first love and his obvious mate. I think most time Kayio was too understanding, too much of a shaman and not an individual while dealing with his old pack and his old love. He does try to keep some emotional distance for self preservation reasons and that is why I don't feel the romantic relationship was a bad one, but it isn't always easy to just accept they go from one extreme to the other so quickly, considering the past history.

To be fair, the romance resolution is predictable but I kind of hoped for something more obvious as they dealt with the decision to end together. I mean, a HEA is to be expected but it was all so... quiet and unassuming. I wanted more romance. There is also some minor conflict issues - not really romantically related - toe«wards the end, to quicken some plot situations, but overall, things worked well enough for me. I cried in some parts, when things were really dark for Kayio, not because it was so bad, graphically speaking, but because I imagined how I would act if it were me.

I liked this story, yes. I will read more by the author at some point.
Grade: 8/10

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