(I was given a free ebook version of this story by the author in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts and opinions are mine and not influenced by any outside source.)
Aversion by Kenechi Udogu is the first novella in The Mentalist series. The series follows Gemma Green, a female born Averter. As an Averter her job seems pretty simple: connect with the target, push the new thought into their mind, disappear. Only let’s be real, is any supernatural job ever simple? Gemma gets a tingle when she passes by a potential target and then of bad choices and actions flash before her eyes. It’s Gemma’s job to make sure that the target doesn’t follow through on their original plan. Cue in Russ: Gemma’s first assignment. She’s been trained all her life on how to do this. She knows all the rules and all the proceedures, so this first encounter should be no problem. With her Dad in tow, Gemma performs her first aversion on Russ. Everything seems to go alright, but the next day something bad happens. Russ begins to talk to her when he never had before. Now Gemma must figure out what went wrong and why Russ seems so interested in her. Breaking the rules, figuring things out and dealing with new problems (including her Dad), Gemma embarks on an adventure a lot grander than the regular life of an Averter.
The whole premise of the story is what really drew me in. The idea of an Averter and the abilities they possess is such a refreshing idea compared to most paranormal and supernatural stories in the book world right now. I really wanted to delve into this world Udogu created.
With that said, I do have to be honest and say the beginning of the novella was a struggle to get through. I’m not sure if it was because the story is told in first person and I haven’t read that POV in a while or if I just wasn’t connecting with Gemma. The editor in me began to subconsciously draw circles around all the “I’s” that appeared on one page. However, by the second half of the story things took a turn for the better. Once the action began and Gemma had more to deal with then Russ hanging around her I got pulled into the story.
The whole second half of the novella added danger, secrets unraveling, and a cause Gemma could champion. Although the initial problem with Russ was an OK plot, the heightened mission half-way through really brought this story to life. Now Gemma wasn’t a main character focused on a boy and the forbidden love angle. Instead Gemma’s character became more developmental–she has more growth potential. I began to connect with her and her new struggles. She wasn’t just a naive teenager trying to please her dad anymore, but a girl who began to see things differently, to question things, and someone who learned she was stronger than she seemed.
The writing also improved by the second half of the novella. The action was fast-paced and the characters more interesting. As I said before, I was really drawn in by this point. I began ignoring the editor side of me and began focusing on the lover of reading side of myself.
One thing Udogu did right from the beginning of the novella was the love interest/storyline. Russ and Gemma go really well together. Russ is more confident, but still a gentle spirit who is there to bring Gemma out of her shell. Gemma is hesitant, but Russ’ patience and nudging finally sneak into Gemma. She begins to see Russ as an option for love and someone she can trust. Their love develops slowly in the novella as well. There is a supernatural element between the two characters that leaves Gemma questioning things, but Udogu does a great job of keeping their relationship going despite the setbacks.
In the end, I did enjoy this story. I will most likely be continuing the series as Udogu does a great job of leaving a reader wanting more at the end. I want to know what happens to Gemma and Russ and her Dad and this world with Averters. So I will be keeping The Mentalist series on my radar. Book two, Sentient, was published last October and is the next book in the series.
I recommend Aversion to anyone looking for a nice paranormal/supernatural read that’s different from the common stories out there. The refreshing idea is a great pull and the Averter world interesting. It had a difficult beginning for me, but once you move past it you’ll definitely love the story more. I think it’s worth the try as you’ll most likely be wanting to move on in the series.