Mar 10, 2020


Book Review - The Nexus Mirror, Chronicles of the Enlai #1 (by N.E. Michael)

Title: The Nexus Mirror
Series: Chronicles of the Enlai (book #1)
Author: N.E. Michael
Genre: Fantasy, Science Fiction, Young Adult
Publisher: Asteron Press LLC
Release Date: April 3rd, 2019
Format: Kindle Edition
Pages: 366

"A secret race, locked in two-hundred years of war.

An ancient portal guards the ultimate power.

One girl is the key to it all.

The only question is who will find her first…

The year is 2094. A secret war has ravaged the Earth for centuries, desolating the Enlai race. Every tribe, each with their own powers, must choose a side. The sinister Following has toppled the Alliance, striving for world domination. The Resistance has been beaten into the dust. Now, the fate of the world lies in the hands of one man.

Raiden, typical of most teachers, can't shoot fireballs from his hands. He can't read the thoughts from behind a man's eyes or walk through walls. But when his orphanage is attacked by the very same organization of super-powered thugs who murdered his father, it is up to him to protect his student Sarah from their clutches. Sarah, the last of her tribe, holds the key to an ancient portal called the Nexus Mirror—and with it the last hope of The Resistance.

A mysterious, powerful new player joins the battle…

Alia had always known she was different. She could sense what others could not, feel what those around her were feeling. But despite her almost psychic intuition, she is alone on the streets. Every penny she earns goes towards taking care of her disabled sister, the only person in the world she has ever loved or trusted. Alia's entire life is about to change as Roko, the billionaire leader of the Following, shows a particular interest in her, generously taking her in and promising to heal her sister. As Alia rises in the ranks of The Following, unraveling the mysterious of her past, she must make a choice. Should she continue to sacrifice everything on behalf of her sister, even if that means hurting innocent people, or has the time come for her to resist Roko and fight for what is right?

Chronicles of the Enlai

Taking place in the near future, this thrilling sci-fi/fantasy series tells the tale of a secret, formidable race of super-powered beings fighting for the fate of the planet. The action-packed adventure will take you soaring through the skies on genetically engineered dinosaurs, charging the mountaintops with an army of sword-wielding Shadows, and sailing through perilous waters infested with zombies and super-powered pirates. So what are you waiting for? Come join the fight, the world is at stake!"

The Nexus Mirror (Chronicles of the Enlai #1)
(click to read an excerpt on Amazon)

- Review -
What Made Me Read It
I was sent a copy of the book in exchange for an honest review. The author described it as "a contemporary YA fantasy book about a hidden race of thirteen tribes, each with their own super-power, government, and society, fighting for control over Earth and humanity". It sounded interesting so I decided to give it a go.

The Plot
All his life Raiden has had vivid dreams of a race of powered people called the Enlai, living in secret among humans. But when his 10-year-old bright student Sarah is kidnapped by a group of highly skilled thugs, Raiden's life becomes as strange and surreal as the comic books he draws, and he finds himself in the middle of the same ancient conflict he believed was a mere product of his traumatized mind. Maximus is a Reader, an Enlai whose powers rule over the subconscious mind and emotions. A warrior hardened by too many losses as a member of the now disbanded Resistance, Maximus has a new mission: to revive the Alliance and protect Sarah, the last member of the Surgers tribe, from the Shadows and the head of the Following, a faction of Enlai intent on enslaving humanity.

Yuran is the Chief of the Shadows, a tribe of proud warriors who value honor in the battlefield and walk through dimensions. A devoted leader who will do anything to protect his people, Yuran is haunted by the loss of his father and sister, condemned to exile inside the Nexus Mirror. There is only one way to save them: find the girl who holds the key to the ancient artifact.

Roko is a Builder, of the Enlai experts of technology and invention. The billionaire CEO of Discovery Inc. and head of the Following, Roko believes in the superiority of his race and their right to rule over humanity. But for that he needs the ancient power contained within the Nexus Mirror. Alia has been an orphan all her life, unaware of her heritage as a Reader. When Roko approaches her with an offer to join the Following ranks, Alia's abilities tell her he cannot be trusted. But Alia will do anything to provide her disabled sister Bella with the best medical care possible, even make a deal with the devil himself.

The Good
"The Nexus Mirror" is the first book in the Chronicles of the Enlai series, an urban fantasy young adult novel with science fiction elements, set in the near future of 2094  in London, Chicago and Epirus (Greece). It chronicles the civil war between the different tribes of the Enlai, a secret race of powered people who have coexisted with humanity since the beginning of time, influencing the history of mankind behind the scenes; while some of them choose to live their lives in secluded peace, others seek to rule over humanity. At the heart of the conflict is one powerful man, using whatever means necessary to find the Nexus Mirror, an ancient artifact that holds a great power within as old as time itself, and a 10-year-old girl, the last of her tribe, who holds the key to enter the Mirror.

The plot takes place over the course of a single month, fast-paced and action-packed with intense battles, but also moments of introspection as each character must face hard choices that will affect the lives of those around them. The worldbulding is incredibly rich and deeply detailed: each character has a background story that motivates their actions; the 13 tribes of the Enlai - Shadows, Molders, Surgers, Burners, Absorbers, Coders, Readers... - with specific powers, social rules and beliefs; the history of the Enlai race, split in two factions - the Alliance who protects mankind and the Fury intent on controlling humanity - secretly shaping the world and human history throughout the millennia; the believable and plausible futuristic technology from drones to artificial hearts and force fields...

The characters are 3-dimensional and complex with realistic behaviors, motivations and goals, going through an emotional growth throughout the story as we get to know their personal history and what drives them through shifting allegiances and betrayals as they're tested in their resolve and values.

The Not So Good
Even though it's obvious how much effort the author put into building such a complex and rich world, sometimes all that extra information ends up slowing down the narrative, with details that aren't entirely relevant to the story and feel more like an encyclopedia entry.

Some parts of the plot require greater suspension of disbelief; even in a fantasy world where people have enhanced abilities and intelligence, a character, who has spent her entire life ignorant of her heritage, suddenly rising to the rank of an almost invincible general of a powerful army with minimal training and in just a couple of weeks is a little hard to swallow.

Also, the plot includes too many skirmishes and open conflicts, barely allowing us time to breathe between intense action sequences; the story gets increasingly more violent, with every character repeatedly threatening to kill one another. It was just too much for my personal taste and the reason it lost another book/star in the final rating.

Final Rating
"The Nexus Mirror" is the first book in the Chronicles of the Enlai series, an urban fantasy young adult novel with science fiction elements set in the near future of 2094, fast-paced and action-packed with intense battles. Recommended for those who enjoy stories about people with super powers.

• • • •

- About the Author -
Twitter: @nemichaelbooks
Genre: Science Fiction, Young Adult, Fantasy

My name is Noah Michael, and I am the author of the Chronicles of the Enlai series. I have two undergraduate degrees in bio-medical engineering and the medical sciences, and am currently a student in medical school. I am all about following your dreams, and so despite my busy schedule, I never gave up my hobbies which include writing, music, and traveling. Aside from my current series, I have two other worlds in my head just waiting to be built, and I can't wait to share them with you! Please don't hesitate to reach out and share your dreams with me as well, and I hope you enjoy reading mine!



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