Saturday, July 2, 2022

Review: The Twin Stars by Bridgette Dutta Portman

It's been awhile since I've had a rich fantasy to present here. Today's read is sold as a Wizard of Oz meets The Neverending Story meets Chronicles of Narnia. So what does that mean? I'm assuming it will be a gentler fantasy with more depth and richness. This one does deal with a main character, who has OCD, too. Oh, and it's the first in a series (yay!). 

Ready to take a peek?

The Coseema Saga, Book One
by Bridgette Dutta Portman
YA Fantasy

A magical journal. A world savaged by its own suns. An evil prince. A princess in hiding. And a teenage girl who learns to be the hero of her own story.

Sixteen-year-old Olive Joshi has obsessive-compulsive disorder, and can't stop worrying about hurting the people she loves. She finds refuge in writing about Coseema, a magical princess on a distant planet. Coseema is fearless, confident, and perfect - everything Olive thinks she’ll never be. When she falls through a portal into her own unfinished story, Olive finds herself in a world in peril: double suns scorch the land, the brutal Prince Burnash seeks supreme power, and Coseema is nowhere to be found. Together with her friends - a bold poet, a cursed musician, a renegade soldier, and an adventurous girl from the desert - Olive will have to face her deepest fears to find the hero in herself.

An engrossing new portal fantasy in the spirit of the Wizard of Oz, the Neverending Story, and the Chronicles of Narnia.​



With the flow of a dream, this fantasy takes a girl with OCD on a journey to face her fears, discover her strengths, and find friendship.

Olive is on the way to the funeral of her recently deceased grandmother. She finds solace, as always, by scribbling in her notebook, where she tries to fight her fears thanks to OCD, but carries a story she's been working on for a long time. When a frantic visit to the bathroom on the airplane ends with her passing out, little does she know she's gone through a portal and, now, finds herself in the world her tale centers around. The characters she created become flesh and blood, and mistake her for the heroine, Coseema. But Olive knows she could never replace Coseema, even if she looks like her. Not only was Coseema perfect and powerful, but she's the only one who can save the world...unfortunately, the real Coseema is no where to be found.

The world building in this tale is very well done. The author spends just enough time in Olive's 'real' world to ground her before zipping her off into the fantasy realm. There, details let the surroundings come to life until the reader can almost see, feel and hear the world around them.

The characters are well done, and even the side ones have personality and enough background to give them depth. Each one is different and brings richness to plot. It's entertaining and interesting to see how Olive interacts and tries to wrap her brain around the characters she created...only to learn that she might not know them as well as she thought. But at the same time, she learns more about herself.

Everything flows well, making this an easy read to get lost in. Thanks to the rich descriptions, the pacing is a little gentler than I prefer, and I did find myself skipping over paragraphs now and then. But for those who prefer characters and worlds, this is a lovely read. And it does set the stage for the beginning of what promises to be an interesting series.

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