orbimageThe Shining Orb of Volney, a fantasy/Sci-fi novel, is another great read by author and book reviewer, Donna Fujimoto. The story begins when 12-year-old Celeste and her 16-year-old cousin, Ariana, are kidnapped. After the rescue, Celeste is thrust into the role of loremother. Her training teaches Celeste about her echelon’s history and the prophecy of the shining orb. Ariana is treated unfairly and so the girls decide to leave their village and build a new life with the Outsiders.

Meanwhile, Egon, the leader of Beacon City who is behind the kidnapping, uses the mistrust between the echelons of Volney to his advantage. He secretly has scientists build war machines and plants a spy. To gain control over all of Volney, he wages war with the divided echelons.

While living with the Outsiders, the girls find the acceptance they were longing for. As young women their ideas are listened to and they are given the respect which was lacking in their village. When the Outsiders discover Egon’s plans, they try to unite the echelons. Celeste believes their mission will fail.

Celeste and some of her new friends come up with a plan of their own. They will go to the Forbidden Zone and destroy the newly constructed dam. Celeste has a secret that she keeps from them. She hopes to find the shining orb and fulfill the prophecy by reaching the Sky Ones who will bring justice and restore order. All alone, Celeste locates the orb and communicates with the Sky Ones.

The ending completely surprised me. I also enjoyed the strong and resourceful female characters. The story world was rich with detail and realism. It was similar to reading a historical account but flavored with unpredictable action. One of the themes was to give people opportunities to use their intelligence and talents instead of holding them back because of race or gender. It was a hard book to put it down.

We are recommending The Shining Orb of Volney for YA. It is 300 pages and published by Stellar Wind Press. It is available in print and as an e-book through Amazon.

J. D. Rempel is a graduate of Simpson College. She is working on a middle grade novel and an adult fantasy series. She loves to read and started a library at her church. She enjoys working with her husband in youth ministry.