Friday, December 2, 2016

#ReadIndie Book Review: Empath by S. Usher Evans

Title: Empath
Author: S. Usher Evans
Publication Date: May 12, 2015
Publisher: Sun's Golden Ray Publishing
Pages: 244
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Lauren Dailey is in break-up hell.

Stuck between moving on and letting go, she puts on a brave face while crying herself to sleep at night. But when a mysterious voice promises escape from her sadness, she is suddenly transported to a new world. And in this place, the slightest touch pulls her out of her tortured emotions into the mind of another - an empath.

The villagers - sweet Aerona and her mischievous twins, wise Siors, and hunky Cefin - welcome her and the blessings her empath powers bring. But this world is not without its dangers. The Anghenfil, a fire-breathing monster, has haunted the village for decades, and has a taste for empaths. And that mysterious voice promising escape from sadness? It's sounding more like a whisper tinged with smoke and embers.

Can Lauren keep the monsters in the mountain and in her head at bay? Or will she succumb to the darkness like the empath before her...

Lauren Dailey has been having a rough couple of months. She has ended things with her boyfriend after realizing that he wasn't interested in marrying her. She is stuck in a boring, dead-end job. She keeps replaying her breakup in her head, wondering why she couldn't make it work. And worst of all, it seems that everyone around her is happily in love and rubbing it in her face. She feels like she has hit rock bottom...until she is transported to a different world with no running water and a dragon hiding in the mountains. Oh, and she's also an empath.

Anyone who has been through a breakup knows that it usually feels like the end of the world. And in a small sense, it is; it is the end of a big part of your life and it often comes as a shock to the system. Not quite as much of a shock as being transported to a new world and becoming an empath, however, as Lauren quickly learns. She has spent months after her breakup burying her feelings and pretending that she is ok. But now, suddenly, she cannot touch another living thing without being overwhelmed by an onslaught of emotion.

It took me a little while to connect to the characters in Empath, but I eventually grew to care about all of them. Sometimes I was so frustrated that Lauren wouldn't share her true feelings with people, but I understood her anxiety and was able to relate to her thought process. I have been there before - not giving people a chance to grow to love the real me because I assumed they wouldn't like me. I loved that Lauren was able to encounter other characters with the same fears, so she could learn that numerous people, no matter what walk of life or world they live in, struggle with the same worries and anxieties.

Empath was written as a response to a time in S. Usher Evans' life when she felt a lot like Lauren. The story comes across as very personal, but not like a diary entry. You can easily get lost in the adventure and dragon fighting, but you are still left with a wonderful and personal message. Anyone who has lived with anxiety or depression (whether related to a breakup or not) can empathize with Lauren's story. It is a lovely lesson in learning that sometimes you can admit that you aren't ok - and that is ok.

Empath is the sixth S. Usher Evans book that I have read. While I have truly enjoyed them all, Empath has now become my favorite. I hope you will give it a try and enjoy it as much as I did.