*Full disclaimer*: The author Lily Raine is a personal friend of mine. She has asked me for an honest review of her first book.
Anastasia's life has been marred by the memories of the brutal murder of several of her family members while she visited Russia as a child. She is haunted by the image of the murderer who calls her "Aria" and worse yet, she has instances where she disconnects with reality and sees a woman in a white dress who tries to feed her blue flowers. But when she's lured to the woods by a man in a mask who refers to her as Aria, warning of danger coming, Anastasia discovers there's something far greater than visions and the memory of a murder that make her different.
Destria Waves (the first book of the Anastasia series) is a book that I mulled over long after completing it. There is a lot that happens in the first book, so much that at times I had to go back and reread certain sections to make sure I didn't miss something. Details that might seem insignificant in one part of the book come back in full force later in the book (like the chocolate! Read this book and then dare to tell me that the chocolate wasn't a freakin' awesome detail). The plot and pace was clearly planned out significantly which for me, instantly places this book at a higher calibre than many YA fiction series currently out there.
This book does not start slow - it jumps right into the action. By the first 50 pages we know Ana's mom is sick and knows more about the murders in Russia then she lets on, there is a man in a mask that calls Ana "Aria" and is stalking her, and we meet the two major supporting characters - Ana's cousins Jo and Mason. Jo is easily my favorite character from the series. Her character is very well developed despite the fact that she knew (and continues to know) little about the secret world Ana has uncovered. I had trouble liking Mason. I know, he's like super awesome - knows how to cook, sew, is amazing playing the piano, but all of that seems almost too good to be true. After completing the book and thinking it over I have a strong suspicion that Mason is part of Ana's "other world" and was sent to protect Ana until she awakens/becomes aware that she is much more than just human. There are a few hints sprinkled throughout the book that are pointing me in this direction, but of course, it could also be misinterpretation on my part. Morgan, Ana'a sole surviving sibling, plays a lesser role in the course of the first book but seems to be poised to take on a bigger role in follow-up books. She is one character I could not stand from the very beginning. However, her part in the story was much larger than I originally thought, showing that this book was not predictable at all. It has many twists and turns that pull you in every direction and I loved that about this book because who wants to read a story where you already know where the plot is headed?
As a first book, it ends with many questions left unanswered. Clearly, there is much more about the world Ana has uncovered and her role in it left to be divulged. It seems as if Ana is just scratching the surface, and with all the strange things that have already happened (like her ability to heal quickly or turn a bear into a human), I can't help but wonder how much more is there? If anything, I'm sure Lily Raine will take us on another adventure in the second book, full of reinventing old legends into her own unique mythology and having us peer deeper into the world of angels and demons. Not to mention, she'll likely continue to add in subtle hints that you may have to be Ana to catch (like naming the school Joya Del Mar, which translated into "Jewel of the Sea" ;) ). I look forward to the next installment to see how this story will continue to develop :)