Title: Caleo (Leech #1)
Author: james crawford
Rating: 3/5 stars
“Every High School has their social outcasts. The band nerds, the math geeks, the chess club, the girl that chews her hair, but at Butler High, even the creepy nose picker in the chess club is more popular than Caleo Anima. No matter what he did, his pale skin, snow white hair, and piercing blue eyes always made him an easy target. He used to think that the only way things could get worse would be if someone found out that he was gay, but that isn’t even the tip of the iceberg of problems after a mysterious stranger shows up and changes Caleo’s life forever.
Hidden amongst our society, a secret and magical race of people known as ‘Leeches’, have been engaging in civil war for decades. Both sides are desperately searching for a weapon with unlimited power that will give them the advantage they need to rule their world. This wouldn’t mean anything to Caleo, except for one problem…He is that weapon!
Forget making it through High School. Caleo has bigger problems! As the search for him goes on, the world is quickly crumbling around him. He’s now fighting for his life and the life of what little family he has left. With the help of new friends, he has little time to try and master his newly found powers as he tries to figure out who he can trust, who is trying to use him, and who just wants him dead. One wrong step and being the awkward pale outcast will be the least of his worries.” (description from Goodreads)
After reading the description for Caleo, I thought I’d be in for a great read. There’s a great story to the book that is great for fans of paranormal books. It also has a main character who’s gay. Even in the modern and diverse world of today, this isn’t found in many books (though there’s a growing amount of releases to explore). This was new territory for me and I was looking forward to this change from the “norm.”
While I thought the book sounded great, there are aspects that fell flat for me. The main thing was the writing. Even with a great concept to a story, the writing is what’ll hook a reader. I feel that while it wasn’t horrible writing, or anything like that, it was lacking. There weren’t grammar/spelling issues to make mention of, but another round with an editor looking out for word redundancy might have been useful. I found many instances where the same noun was used in one sentence, then the next. This felt awkward and the use of “it” would have felt much smoother and less repetitive. The frequency of this occurrence irked me.
There wasn’t as much depth to the characters, even the main characters. I felt I wasn’t getting enough to sympathize with them through all the obstacles they faced. I also thought the reactions/emotions of most of the characters were unrealistic. Without getting into specifics, something big happens, and instead of devastation and an ok, now we need to man-up to survive” reaction…the characters feel bad for a few minutes but revert back to an almost “everything’s ok, our lives haven’t changed drastically” attitude.
On the other hand, there were aspects of the story that kept me intrigued until the end. While I didn’t feel it played out as well as it could have, or expanded into (for me) a more enjoyable storyline, it still kept me reading. The variety of abilities the leeches have is great. There are abilities I’ve never thought of before, and in a culture full of superheroes and paranormal characters, that’s hard to come by. I liked some of the characters as well, especially Nolan. His power was great and the complications he brought to the story were also great. The way the book ends was intriguing as well, making me want to see how this story will continue.
In the end, this was a good first novel to a series. Grabbed me enough to want to read the second book. crawford, in my opinion, has some things that could be improved or expanded on, but maybe book 2 does just that.
If you’d like to grab a copy of this book, you can find it on:
About the Author:
james crawford lives in Horn Lake Mississippi with his partner of 7 years. He began writing the Leech series in 2007 after having a reoccurring dream about about a young boy with skin whiter than a sheet. The story inspired a writing frenzy that is shaping into the Leech series.
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