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The Survivors by Amanda Havard – Review and Interview

Source: Ink Slinger PR and The Author

* I was given a copy of this book in exchange for an hoest review, all thoughts and opinions are my own. *
Series: The Survivors #1
Published: March 31st 2011 by Chaffie Press
Edition: Ebook, 298 pages
Genre: YA Fantasy/Paranormal/Historical fiction
Purchase: Amazon/Barnes & Noble
**We receive a small kickback from Amazon purchases, all of which will go towards giveaways!
Rating: 4.5/5
Description from Goodreads: 

In 1692, when witch trials gripped the community of Salem, Massachusetts, twenty-six children were accused as witches, exiled, and left for dead. Fourteen of them survived.

The Survivors is the first installment of the tantalizing tales of the fourteen ill-fated Survivors and their descendants, who have been content in hiding for over three centuries. Isolated on a Montana mountainside, only Sadie, the rogue daughter, dares to abandon the family’s sacred hiding place. But no matter how far Sadie runs, something always pulls her back.

On a muggy summer night in Tennessee, she witnesses a shocking scene that will change her life forever. It is the first in a sequence of events that will drag her from the human world she’s sought to belong to for over a century and send her back to her Puritanical family and into an uncertain future filled with cunning witches, mysterious nosferatu shape-shifters, dangerous eretica and vieczy vampires, millennia-old mythology, and the search for her own mortality. After all…


Sometimes I need a good Slap in the face to remind myself not to always judge a book by it’s cover. Since I pride myself on being honest in reviews I will do just that by saying, I do not like this cover. After reading the entire story I can now use the reason : It doesn’t do the story justice! The Survivors by Amanda Harvard is rich and interesting, heartbreaking AND heartwarming. It had me eagerly turning the pages to see just what would happen next!
The first few chapters I will admit, dragged. I was concerned it was just going to fall into a really basic story line. Immortal witch stops aging, lives out her life as a 18-21 year old. Falls in love with Sweet handsome man. Heartbreak ensues. Thank you Amanda Havard for breaking the mold! I think this author likes to tease her readers. She gives you a taste of something… say… a cute boy. Makes you think.. hey, Ya, this could work! And then She tears it away from you! 

Don’t worry! She is pretty generous as well, and goes on to create many amazing characters that I just fell for head over feet! 
The ideas in The Survivors was far more unique than I had expected.Sadie’s character was quite different from other YA characters I have read recently. Her religious beliefs add an interesting view to our society and how she handles situations, but it didn’t overpower the story like other stories I have read with characters with strong religious upbringings. Sadie questions things, she is open minded and she always wants to know more. Which can sometimes get her into some dangerous situations. 
” ‘Sadie, you’re a strange girl, so I say this with love,’ he said, his voice sincere.
 ‘I need you to love me more than death,’ he whispered.”
Because of Sadie’s Desire to know more about the world, herself, and others like her; The Survivors is filled with an interesting mix of paranormal history. A few of the paranormals she meets are ones we are familier with, others are more unique and complex. This really added to the complexity and kept me invested in the story because I wanted to know more. 
At the same time though. These more original paranormal characters are part of why I couldn’t give a full 5 star review. I got confused. It seemed almost too complex. Having to follow the ideas of – If this creature has a child with this creature it creates one thing, if it has a child with another creature it creates another, and if THAT child has a child it creates something else.. ect… I had a hard time following this and it pulled me out of the story a bit. 
But that will not stop me from recommending this story with a passion! It was filled with history and magic, adventure and romance and was really interesting! I made the mistake of reading  the first few pages of book # 2 that are offered in the back of The Survivors. Now all I want to do is get my hands on it! It seems like it’s going to give readers a deeper look into Sadie’s family and their interesting way of life, and hopefully learn more of their history! Though there is a romance in Book #1 – and it is a great one- it is not what is the driving force behind me wanting to read #2 and that is a great sign to me!
 The Survivors by Amanda Havard is only .99 cents right now for the e-book version on both Kindle and Nook! Just follow the links above 🙂

Interview with Amanda Havard: 

1.      Describe your book in ten words or less.
Immortals in exile. Power corrupts. All’s fair in love & war. (See how I cleverly used the ampersand to save a word??)
2.      What drew you to the Salem Witch Trials?
I so love using real history and mythology to frame my fiction, so any time there is a giant black hole in history — that is, a moment where we still can’t tell what really happened — then I see huge opportunities to answer the what-ifs. I went looking for one of these “black holes” surrounding a real historical event, in the US, in recent enough times that it wouldn’t have the feel of something ancient. The Salem Witch Trials phenomenon was the natural fit. That said, once I started reading about the trials, learning what we do know — and more importantly, what we don’t — I began to obsess.

3.      How much research went into the Survivors?
An unbelievable amount. I’m an academic by nature. I read to learn, ask questions and hypothesize, and then I research to flesh out my understanding in order to ask my next round of questions, propose my next set of theory. It’s a thin line, but if you look carefully, you can’t tell me where the line of history ends and the world of fiction begins. All the history is real. All the mythology and lore is real. All the places, all the clothes, the cars, the culture. Every detail is real. So you can dive deeper into story. So you can suspend your disbelief just that much more.
4.      If you were a Survivor, what would your power be?
I’d love the ability to go without sleep. I’d write stories all night when the world got quiet. I’m not all that fond of sleep as it is. But! That said, I love travel, so the teleportation power is probably the most appealing to me.
5.      Which character was your favorite to write?
Mark. And now that people seem to love him, and he seems to be the favorite character to read? That’s only truer.
6.      Biggest writing quirk?
I wouldn’t say a quirk so much as a signature: Songs write this story. I hear the right song, and it can fit an event in my head, which is lovely. But more often? I hear the perfect song, and it tells me what’s going to happen between two characters or in an event that I know must happen. The music behind the story is more influential than anything else.
7.      What book are you currently reading?
Maya’s Notebook by Sandra Cisneros. Also, a good friend’s manuscript.

8.      Willow or Sabrina?
Sabrina. I went through a phase that might have looked somewhat like obsession. (Never admitted that before…)
9.      Charmed or Secret Circle?
I used to watch Charmed reruns till the cows came home. That’s my loyalty.
1.  Are you working on anything new?
Always. Lots of music. The fourth Survivors book. A few new projects, including an adult contemporary, a new adult barely-paranormal one-off, and a YA mind-bender that I’m pretty attached to. I’m also toying with some big transmedia projects —a multi-modal story told in several forms of media, serially, and some graphic novel/comic inspired work. There’s a lot circulating these days!

After reading the Amanda’s Answers I have to say.. I love her even more! And I would probably pick up The Survivors just based on the fact that she loves Charmed and Sabrina the Teenage Witch – Though I dunno if I could make a choice between Sabrina and Willow! Also.. Now I really want to know what kind of a playlist would be put together for The Survivors! I may have to look further into this!

About Pages, Paints & Pawprints

Just a gal, her cat, and a ton of books.

2 responses »

  1. I love how dedicated the author is for doing intensive research for the book. 🙂

  2. It really is! And it shows in the book for sure! ~Chelle


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