Fiction, Urban Fantasy, Young Adult

Review: Chasing Xaris by Samantha Bennett

Chasing Xaris book cover
Image from Samantha Bennett; used by permission

Title: Chasing Xaris

Author: Samantha Bennett

Genre: Urban Fantasy

Chandler Bloom starts her day like every other—on her surfboard and away from her smothering grandparents. It’s the only way she’s been able to cope since the hit-and-run that killed her parents two years ago. But when a shark nearly turns Chandler into breakfast, a loner surfer named Ari saves her life. Which is great, except that he also triggers new questions about her parents’ deaths. Before Chandler can ask him more, Ari disappears. Desperate for answers, Chandler decides to track down Ari with the help of her best friend Jordan, a surfer guy who’s totally in love with her. The search leads to Ari’s home—a hidden island that can only be found with a form of light called xaris. But Chandler isn’t the only one searching for the island or the unearthly elements found there. Her parents died protecting it, and if Chandler doesn’t come to grips with what she’s really chasing, she could be next.

I actually finished this book a while ago. It just took me a long time to buckle down and write a review. Why? That took me a long time to put my finger on.

I went through all the usual reasons I find a review difficult. Disappointed? No, I really enjoyed Chasing Xaris. No strong feelings one way or the other? Nope, this falls solidly in “like” territory. It really needed more work before publishing? That’s not it, I didn’t catch any problems.

I really liked Chandler – brave and curious, sometimes impulsive, and trying hard to bury her pain. Chandler’s friend Jordan was great enough that I wish he’d have gotten more page time. Ari’s mystery-guy air annoyed me in the beginning, but I liked him much more once Chandler discovered his secrets.

The plot was also enjoyable. Chandler thinks her parents were killed in a car crash until Ari accidentally lets slip they were murdered. So she starts searching for why and by whom – and also tries to figure out a little more about Ari. A surfer girl, a murder mystery…I even loved the story concept, which was a little bit mythology and a little bit sci-fi and a little bit something else great.

So why didn’t I love Chasing Xaris? I’m still not sure. But I do know that it’s not the book, it’s me. It’s not a bad book – actually, it’s really good. I’m sure there are many people out there who will love Chasing Xaris as much as I think I should have. But for whatever reason, it didn’t click with me.

I recieved a free review copy of Chasing Xaris from the author. Her generosity in no way influenced, or sought to influence, this review.

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