The best kind of debut novel: already better than most, and hinting at further greatness to come!
|Corbiere, Yves. Mimi and Ky: The Beginning. Amazon: 2016.|
Buy it here.
Short and sweet, Mimi and Ky was thoroughly engrossing, if not quite from page one, then at least from when things started to get magical. Mimi, at first, seemed on the surface to be quite an unlikely character upon which to hang the sturdy mantle of hero(ine), but her TV series and her celebutante lifestyle notwithstanding, what the reader eventually discovers in her is an unexpected depth--and that, in the end, is what justifies her magical (in more ways than one) boyfriend-to-be Ky's interest in her.
Based partly on the author's own debilitating experiences of suddenly becoming sick, that feeling of being betrayed by one's own body, Mimi's high-profile life quickly falls apart when her health abandons her. It is in watching Mimi suffer that we forget about her empty life and start to empathize. Trial by suffering--it breaks most, but tempers some, and Mimi is certainly one of the latter, rising to the occasion again and again with her own special brand of courage.
Romances between a magical man and an 'ordinary' woman are not new, of course, but not all such stories really sell the central conceit: the idea that a person of extraordinary power would fall for someone who seemingly possesses none at all. I'm happy to report that Mimi and Ky manages to convince on that score, thanks to Mimi's evolution as a person (in fact, in a cruel way, perhaps the illness she suffers is actually the best thing that has happened to her, because it forces her into a painful yet, as it turns out, all too necessary refinement).
It's written with something that I'd call "unpretentious flair", by which I mean it is skillfully, but not ostentatiously or floridly, written. One somewhat inconsistent portion was the dialogue, which ranges from snappy to a tad clumsy, but it won't distract too much from the engaging story.
Mimi and Ky sets up the multi-world mythology quite well, having a sort of 'magical anthropology' feel to it given the interactions with different groups, not all of them of this earth. It also ends on a decidedly unfinished note, the seeds sown for at least one sequel, possibly many. I, for one, hope it's 'many'!
Objective assessment: 7/10
Bonuses: +1 for developing a 'magical anthropology' approach, and +1 for creating a more believable magical man<-->ordinary woman romance than most (here's looking at you, Meyer!)
Penalties: -1 for moments where the dialogue felt a bit awkward
Nerd coefficient: 8/10 "well worth your time and attention"
[Actually, an 8/10 is very high for us; see details of our no-tolerance policy on grade inflation here.]
This review brought to you by Zhaoyun, lover of unlikely romances between magical and ordinary people since time immemorial and stalwart reviewer at NOAF since 2013.