Where the Lightning Goes

The Impossible Series Book 1

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Pub Date 30 May 2023 | Archive Date 30 May 2023

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After a powerful wizard tears Elle’s soul apart and steals her memories, she’s locked in a house to rot. Her only remaining memory is of falling from the sky, though even that raises more questions than it answers. Upon her escape, she falls into a world that’s equal parts vicious and beautiful. Magic is everywhere, everyone is out for themselves, and every truth is accompanied by a lie. Her lack of memories grows maddening and painful. She’s positive that the key to recovering her memories is in the sky-castle from her dreams, but getting there will require magic she doesn’t have. Traversing an enchanted painting, stealing a sword from a dragon’s den, and outwitting a demon are only the beginning. And this time, she’s got more than freedom and memories on the line.

Without magic, there is no survival.

After a powerful wizard tears Elle’s soul apart and steals her memories, she’s locked in a house to rot. Her only remaining memory is of falling from the sky, though even that raises more questions...

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Available Editions

EDITION Paperback
ISBN 9781958362020
PRICE $13.99 (USD)

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Average rating from 113 members

Featured Reviews

For starters this book is super queer, and I love it for that. And it’s queer in a way that is unique and rarely seen in books in that there is a romance that is queer but also the innate themes of the book are queer in a way I’ve never seen before. The queerness is not obvious in the summary, but it so queer. So, if you’re looking for a queer book for yourself or for your library, this is a great addition.

Generally, I’m an impatient reader and often find my attention lagging, but that didn’t happen with this book. The writing style is exactly what I love and even without that, I loved the characters and was completely drawn in. I did have a few questions about the world as I was reading in the beginning. These were explained later, and I’m the type of reader who doesn’t mind a little confusion about the world if I love everything else, which I did.

I loved all the characters, but I really loved Cypress. He's a fantastic villain and driving force of the story. The readers only know as much as Elle knows, which is not always my favorite type of story, but it's executed flawlessly here. Not knowing made me want to read more and root for Elle to find all her answers.

I enjoyed the climax scene with the fight and all the revelations. It was well done and hit all the plot points and emotional beats needed for a satisfying conclusion.

I’m hyped for the next book and more of Elle’s adventures.

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I loved it! It reads like a fast paced, light hearted fantasy quest while also exploring some much deeper and thought provoking themes. I loved the whimsical characters. Salem does an excellent job of capturing exactly who her charters are flaws and all. This book is full of fantasy tropes with a fresh twist. I really enjoyed it from cover to cover.

Thank you to the publisher and NetGalley for the eARC in exchange for this honest review.

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Thank you Netgalley and Jackary Salem for early access to Where the Lightning Goes. The story had a great imagery and description with this fantasy book. I like the aspect of the good and bad magic and following Elle through this storyline.

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Last year I read many fantasy books and I truly have to say that this book was unique. This book to me felt like the hobbit meets the hunger games set in one of the paintings of Dali (you know the one where the clock is melting over the edge of the table). The combination of magic and going on a quest is obviously not new, but the setting and the context of the story definitely gave it a new layer. The book also had a lot of mystery.

The pace of the book is very quick, which is an advantage, but in my opinion also a disadvantage. On the hand, it made it easy to read and really drew you in. I wanted to know what would happen and it fitted with the excitement of the story. On the other hand, due to the pace of the story, I missed some world building in the book, which in turn made it sometimes difficult to follow everything that was happening. I feel like this book in itself could have easily been double the size or two books.

All in all, I would definitely recommend this book to readers that love fantasy books. It was a well rounded story.

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Where the Lightning Goes is the first in a new series by Salem. We follow Elle who knows she has fallen from the sky but has no real memories of before. She escapes her prison with a goal to find her memories and along the way meets new friends and foes. I really enjoyed this story and the crazy turns it takes. I guessed a few things but overall liked the twists. I will definitely read the next one just for more Cypress.

Thank you NetGalley and the publisher for an ARC of this book. This review is full of my own opinions.

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A young adult fantasy adventure book. An enchanted world filled with good and bad magic, wizards, dragons, and demons. A young girl must navigate her dreams and empower magic to survive .Thank you to netgalley much appreciation to the author

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I read this in one setting up half of the night to finish it because I was so entrantsed in the story. It was so good. I really liked this book.
I just reviewed Where the Lightning Goes by Jackary Salem. #WheretheLightningGoes #NetGalley
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A big thanks to NetGalley and Derealization Press for providing for an eARC exchange for an honest review. As well as Derealization Press and YABC for then providing a physical ARC.

What is your first memory? Perhaps it's something mundane like an early birthday or your first bicycle. For Elle, her first memory is falling out of the sky.

Where the Lightning Goes by Jackary Salem is a YA fantasy novel that follows the life of Elle, after a wizard tore her soul in half and stole all her memories. Just an ordinary Tuesday, right? Elle's only remaining memory is of falling out of the sky. Which leaves plenty of the plot to answer and fill in with mystery and intrigue you will only find in a Jackary Salem novel. Escaping from her bleak home, Elle is faced with a world that has a bite worse than its bark. And the only way she hopes to survive it, is by gaining her magic. But that's easier said than done.

What I liked most about Where the Lightning Goes is that it was a never-ending unraveling mystery. Where one mystery ended another began, and so on and so forth until we were met with that dramatic plot twist, then decent end. Which often lead to me being confused as to what was actually going on. But Salem had a way of reeling me back in with their delicate lyrical writing.

Though if I were to change anything, I feel Salem needed to add just a few more hints as to what all was going on. Their mystery and intrigue often muddled the story and hurt the plot. To the point that I nearly wanted to give up and pick something else to read. But Elle kept it going. Along with the awesomeness that was Adair, Honeycutt, and Leslie of course.

Overall, this is a solid fantasy that I would recommend to anyone just starting to get into the genre that won't mind a few head turns and confusion.

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After a powerful wizard tears Elle's soul apart and steals her memories, she's locked in a house to rot. Her only remaining memory is of falling from the sky,
I enjoyed this book over all although i did not particularly like all the characters in the book but the way they are written makes sense to the over all story and I did like the main character. I enjoyed the world building and magic system and found it interesting. I have read a lot of fantasy books lately and this felt different to what I have been reading which I found enjoyable.

Thank you to the publisher and NetGalley for an
ARC of this book

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Thank you NetGalley for letting me read this early. So I was confused thru most of this book. It kept me intrigued to keep reading to finish but it just jumps off almost like you the reader itself has fallen from the sky. It’s good just know you will be lost. I am not sure I would reread this however due to that feeling.

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Where the Lightening Goes by Jackary Salem is not categorized as a mystery, but it sure felt like it should be for most of the book. I was really pretty far into things before I felt like I have any sort of clue what was going on. And while the measured, deliberate approach to learning information in appreciated, here it just felt like it was being withheld without any real hints until very far along. Ultimately, I still don’t really feel like I understood everything that was going on even after finishing. In a series (which I see on Goodreads that this is numbered #1 as if there are to be more) where there is an overarching story, it makes sense to be left with questions so that a reader is enticed to read the subsequent book(s). Unfortunately, I felt like this was more of a case of the information not being thought through by the author versus withheld to make sure I read more.

Once we started to get hints and foreshadowing, I felt like I was getting hit over the head with them. Subtlety was certainly not he approach employed by the author. I don’t want to spoil, so it is hard to explain much, but characters and who they actually are in relation to one another (except our bad guys) starts to fall into place and was super easy to guess once the author actually does drop a hint or two.

Confusing in many ways, and throughout many parts, the book had a number of high points. There was imagery, like the descriptions of the impossible market, that were wonderfully crafted. The banter between characters was funny, sad, thrilling and enjoyable. The character development was really one of the best parts of this. And while there was clearly plot, to get us from the start where Elle falls from the sky to the end, I fell that the story has concluded without leaving me with the ability to explain the world that was built.

It also did have a decent ending. While (as explained already) I am still left with a number of questions – maybe I didn’t read it carefully enough (then agin maybe I read it too carefully as I will note there is a statement “Perun was always a god, yes…” and then again, there is a section later discussing how Perun became a god as a child and I hate inconsistencies like that so when I notice them, I tend to read the rest less carefully) but I still don’t have a great handle on the system of magic and why we have demons and magic without any real philosophical or theological road map to provide guidance on the story. The end tied up a lot, addressed the major issues and motivations of each character, and left me satisfied with the way the story ended. I didn’t feel cheated, and the questions I had weren’t about what happened to characters, and I liked that.

Elle, Honeycutt, Adair, Leslie make a pretty awesome troupe once they come together. It is interesting to see how the author sees the personification of certain traits or elements of a person, like a heart, and how they are expressed. The biggest promise for any sort of sequel, to me, is in the idea of a prequel or the backstory for Elle. Overall, if you are looking for a story about a magical adventure, in a decidedly unique presentation, this is not a bad read. I think on balance, it would get 3.5 stars.

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This fun story follows Elle. She is 16, but has no memory of her past. The first thing she can remember was falling from the sky. Especially, the story follows Elle on her quest to recover her memories as she travels through a world full of magic and demons. I don’t usually read fantasy, so I found this book when I decided to give the genre a try. I found the book easy to read and the characters to be well written. Half way through the book, I (thought) that had figured out a major plot twist. I was, pleasantly, incorrect.

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A young adult fantasy adventure book. An enchanted world filled with good and bad magic, wizards, dragons, and demons. A young girl must navigate her dreams and empower magic to survive. Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for allowing me access to the book for an honest review.

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Where the Lightening Goes is the debut novel for Jackary Salem. It is about a girl Elle who escapes the only life she’s known to explore a world full of magic, demons, and dragons. Taking place in an inventive world of magic, Where the Lightening Goes is sure to delight fans of the fantasy genre. With enough originality to keep you interested and a charming main character, the book is an exciting start to Salem’s Impossible Series. Looking forward to seeing what’s next for Elle!

Thanks to Derealization Press for the ARC!

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This was a great start to the Impossible series, I was invested in what was going on and it did what I was hoping for. The characters were unique and felt like they belonged in this universe. I'm so glad I was able to read this and hope the series will continue.

"The only pain Adair could feel was physical, and no amount of sentiment would change that. At the same time, the deep emptiness inside him did spawn a sort of discontent and, with that, a yearning to be whole. They weren’t emotions, per se, but the parallel existed."

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I received a free copy of this book in exchange for my review…. It’s a deal that occasionally I lose because the book isn’t actually worth my time to read or leave a review, this is not the case for Where the Lightning Goes. This time I came out on top. The the plot of the book felt familiar and comfortable despite its constant surprises. The characters are written in way that makes you interested and causes you to care about them without leaving feeling bludgeoned by the details. I raced to finish it and feel a loss now that it’s over. I hope with all my heart that the author will give me more of Elle and this world. I highly recommend this book even if you’re not into fantasy because in the end it’s a story we all can relate to.

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Great adventure…quite complex at the beginning…it really pulled me into the narrative.I hope there is a sequel

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Unfortunately, despite my piqued interest in this title, I no longer intend to read/finish/review this title. Thank you for the opportunity!

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Elle has fallen from the sky…again.

With no memories of who she was, locked in a castle with demons, and the yearning for freedom and to figure out who she is, she’s finally escaped. And landed right in Adair’s backyard.

A man without a heart and an enchanted painting.

In Where The Lightning Goes, we’re thrown into a story of magic, lost love, and a young girl with determination. Jackary Salem creates a world where the characters are easy to love and yet frustrate you at the same time. Elle and Adair team up in order to figure out who she is and potentially help Adair become whole again.

The storytelling in this novel was so well done. And while I find myself a bit rushed in bits, it was incredibly enjoyable. I have more questions than answers after reading this book. Some things I just took at face value but others still have me wondering. For instance, I still don’t quite understand the way magic works in this world. But that being said, the story was incredible. If you’re looking for a new fantasy novel with a wholesome point, I highly recommend picking it up!

I received this ARC for an honest review.

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An exciting story following Elle on her quest to find out where she comes from, chasing lost memories taken from her. Just like life, she finds that one mystery leads to another rather than giving her answers she just gets more questions ! An enjoyable story that left me wanting to read more.

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What I Didn’t Like:
-The opening is jarring. You feel like you don’t know WHAT is going on. In fact this whole fantasy world takes a little time to get used to and feel settled in.
-I’m not a fan of original spelling to show regional dialect and this book has a character written that way.
-Despite having a main character who appeared young, this never really felt like a young adult book. There’s nothing inherently adult about it, nothing that would make me hesitate when handing it to a young adult reader, it’s just worth mentioning that it didn’t feel like it would fit the current market for that age group.

What I Did Like:
+The jarring nature of the opening IS sort of the point. You are confused, right along with Elle, about how this world works. As much as that can feel frustrating, it is a GREAT TOOL to put you in the mindset of our main character.
+The Magic system seems pretty cool. As it builds up and you start to learn a little about how this elemental magic system functions, it’s pretty interesting.
+I love when tropes are played around with in interesting ways. Grumpy and sunshine in a found family dynamic is a trope crossover I didn’t even know I wanted. Then you add in the creative way this played with found family and this one goes down as a very creative use of trope twists.

Who Should Read This One:
-Readers, like me, who enjoy when tropes are played around with.
-Fantasy fans who like things a little darker.
-Magic fans who like when a magical world is explored through the eyes of a new user.

My Rating: 4 Stars
Well written book for fantasy fans.

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Magical. A truly beautiful read with plenty going on to keep you entertained.I really liked Elle and really felt the frustration if her lost memories,

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This book gives me so many Alice in wonderland,Narnia and Coraline vibes ! We starts with a young woman who decide to go after her memories in a world full of threats and magic. Some people may complain about the lack of explanation for some of the magical elements or the world building,but for me it all settled very well if we considerate even the MC know everything than was going on. The visuals of this book where on point ! Full of magic and beauty,such well and fast paced written. Highly would recommend this one !
Thank you net galley for having my opinion on this one !

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I'll admit that when I read the summary, I was immediately intrigued, but that first chapter had me questioning things…

Thankfully, I'm one of those to give a book at least the first 50 pages before admitting defeat. And I'm so glad I stuck it out!

The book may start a bit odd, but it truly is amazing, and I'm curious to see how the story progresses.

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This book almost gave me Coraline vibes during the first half of it. It's a fun tail about love, loss, and realizing things about yourself. I ended up loving all the main characters. All their personalities were unique and complimented each other well. I enjoyed how everything came together at the end and all my questions were answered.

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This book reminds me of Alice and wonderland,
This book reminds me of Wizard of Oz.
This book has Harry Potter vibes,
This author might read Neil Gaiman.
Ooh, that reminds me of Eragon.

These are the thoughts I had while read this beautiful tale full of magic and adventure. My conclusion is that this story is strong enough to stand alone. Apart from any possible influences. A strong YA fantasy book. Thank you to the publisher and net gallery for letting me read this enchanting tale.

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"Like the whole point of being alive was to either run into the sun or clear the way for someone else to do the same."

Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for providing me with a free eARC in exchange for an honest review!
I was wavering between four and four ½ stars, but that plot twist and ending really solidified it for me. Four ½ stars it is!

The worldbuilding and magic system: 4.5/5
I would’ve liked to see more context of the wider world (what is the world called? What are the different countries and leaders?) but I understand that maybe it wasn't relevant. Seeing as this is a series, I’d certainly like to see more of Elle’s adventures around this world later on. But the real star of this story was the magic system. It was clearly very well thought out. The imagery and descriptions were fantastic, and the way the author handled the magic was quite unique.

The characters: 4/5
I understand why Adair and Leslie were the way they were, but that didn’t help my feelings of irritation towards them. However, it wasn’t so much that I couldn’t look past it. Elle was a great main character, and her character development was enjoyable to read. My favourite characters were probably Cypress (even with his limited time in the story lol) and Honeycutt. Overall, the characters were all interesting and had their own sort of mystery that kept me attached.

The plot: 4/5
This story has so many things I love - demons, and curses, and gods, and even dragons! Did I mention that I read this in two days? It kept me on the edge of my seat, and I stayed up way too late reading till the end. It was perfectly fast-paced, other than maybe the beginning which did seem to throw the reader a little too quickly into the action.
I knew there was going to be a major plot twist from the beginning, but boy was my guess wrong. The plot twist at the end was great, and it added such an interesting twist to the story. Everything adds up so much better once you’ve read to the end. I will say that it did open some unanswered questions, but I’m assuming they will be answered in the next installment. Overall, this was an unique and interesting read, and it was particularly commendable for being a debut book.

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This debut YA novel is such a creative and fun exploration of the lengths one would take for love. It took me a bit of time to really get into the story and mesh with the characters.

This book is not what I expected. We follow Elle on an epic adventure with such a unique magic system. When she falls from the house in the sky, where she has been stuck for the last decade, she has to figure out who she is and where she came from. What feels like a straightforward journey turns into a mystery as Elle tries to reclaim her memories and re-discover who she is. And while the beginning of the story is confusing, it makes sense because even the main character does not know what is going on. One of my favorite things about this book was the magic system in this book, and there is so much I would love to read more about. The impossible markets are such an incredible concept! It’s really unlike any other fantasy story.

I loved the world-building and all the characters. I'm looking forward to reading more from this author.

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Salem's Where the Lightning Goes is a wonderful hero's journey with a twist. Elle's adventure from beginning to end is filled with emotion, desire, and a dash of confusion which pulls you through at a comfortable pace.
The supporting characters are usually more interesting than Elle, but there's plenty of reason for that. The story weaves a complex tale using multiple POVs to seamlessly combine the perspectives into one that feels like you're right there beside Elle.
I look forward to more from Salem.

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There was so much mystery in this book. So many twists and turns that kept me turning the pages for more and it also kinda gave me Studio Ghibli vibes which I’m a huge fan of. ! I definitely recommend this book!
𝙄 𝙧𝙚𝙘𝙚𝙞𝙫𝙚𝙙 𝙖𝙣 𝙖𝙙𝙫𝙖𝙣𝙘𝙚 𝙧𝙚𝙖𝙙𝙚𝙧 𝙘𝙤𝙥𝙮 𝙛𝙤𝙧 𝙛𝙧𝙚𝙚. 𝘼𝙡𝙡 𝙩𝙝𝙤𝙪𝙜𝙝𝙩𝙨 𝙖𝙣𝙙 𝙤𝙥𝙞𝙣𝙞𝙤𝙣𝙨 𝙖𝙧𝙚 𝙢𝙮 𝙤𝙬𝙣

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So the real hero of the hour is that fact this book exists and you are going to read it against so you don’t have any spoilers. All I’ll say is that the concepts found in this boom make it entertaining and grounded but imaginative at the same time.

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This book is not what I expected. We follow Elle on an epic adventure with such a unique magic system. When she falls from the house in the sky, where she has been stuck for the last decade, she has to figure out who she is and where she came from. What feels like a straightforward journey turns into a mystery as Elle tries to reclaim her memories and re-discover who she is. And while the beginning of the story is confusing, it makes sense because even the main character does not know what is going on. One of my favorite things about this book was the magic system in this book, and there is so much I would love to read more about. The impossible markets are such an incredible concept! It’s really unlike any other fantasy story.

This book is driven by the characters and how they relate to one another, and I found the relationship between Adaire and Leslie so interesting because they are two halves of the same person. Wanting to literally cut out your emotions so you don’t have to deal with your problems is incredibly relatable. And the fact that Leslie cries over the smallest of inconveniences is also super relatable. I am looking forward to reading more books in this universe!

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Where the Lightening Goes is one of my new favorite books! It was a really exciting and engaging and I absolutely loved the world building. I can’t wait to read more from Salem and I hope we see more from Elle’s story in the future!

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I loved this so much, this is so unique and interesting, the world building is incredibly well written and I love how more of the world is revealed slowly as the mystery unravels too I felt this added to the sense of adventure and it truly feels like you're going on this journey with Elle. Also the characters are so diverse and none they all have un-reedeming qualities yet they're so likeable anyway. The mystery is incredible intriguing and I really can't wait to read the next book and learn more about this world and demons. I also love that although Elle is your typical protagonist who is super strong it's not thrown in your face and she actually puts a lot of effort into learning her magic, which is described beautifully, and she seems like a very raw, real person. Overall it was an amazing fantasy and I can't wait to read the next in the series.

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This story was whimsical and weaved together with relatability, flaws, and fantasy. There are wizards, dragons, magic, and an amazing backdrop for the story to unfold. I had a hard time putting the story down, so I didn't! It captured me and held me tight until the last page!

Thank you to Netgalley, the author, and the publisher for a copy of this story in exchange for a honest review.

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Where the Lightening Goes by Jackary Salem is a wonderful fantasy novel with spunky characters and a descriptive world. The story tells of Elle, who falls out of the sky and goes on an adventure to find her memories and her magic. Elle is a spitfire of a character who is determined and resourceful. She meets a wizard Adair, who she challenges to teach her magic. Along the way, they discover their pasts and the truth about each other.
I loved this story. The characters are unique and original. The plot is unlike any I've read before. It is full of magic, demons, gods, dwarves, and the tethers that bind them all. It is also about friendship, guilt, grief, and the emotions and desires that make one human. It has adventure and romance and mystery, all interwoven in a fantasy story. I highly recommend this novel, especially if you like fantasy stories. I am eagerly awaiting the second book in the series.
Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for the advanced copy of the book. The opinions are my own.

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The writing is clean, crisp and there is clear progression of the story in a smooth way. I liked how the author did not cause a repetition of scene in 5th chapter by using Elle's POV because the 4th chapter was in Adair's POV.
To summarize, it is a young adult fantasy novel that goes on a magical adventure in a unique presentation full of mysterious unravelling, where one mystery ended and another began until a dramatic plot twist is introduced making us hungry for more. Can't wait to see more of these adventures.

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Where the Lightning Goes felt like a Studio Ghibli movie to me the entire time I read it. Warm beautiful environments, animated characters, and unique magic. (Only to be solidified when I saw that the Author had a cat named Chihiro :) ) If you are a fan of Hayao Miyazaki, high fantasy, and found family, this one is for you. It is reminiscent of a few different films, the most prominent in my mind being Castle in the Sky and Howl's Moving Castle. The idea of a girl falling to earth from some mysterious place in the sky, and a sorcerer who has no heart are big pulls from Studio Ghibli.

This is not to say at all that this story is unoriginal. I really really enjoyed it and was blown away by the ending, I didn't see it coming, and the whole book had this twining of mystery layered all through it. The settings and the magic were all incredible. I loved the dynamic of all of the characters, and their individual personalities. There is LGBTQ+ representation (a Sapphic relationship), found family, elemental magic, soul magic, dragons, dwarves, and demons. It was such a rich read and I am so thankful to Netgalley and Derealization press for the opportunity to have read it.

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Jackery Salem weaves a tale of finding yourself even in the darkest of life's moments. Elle doesn't remember anything before she fell from the sky, but her tenacity and determination lead her on a quest to recover her memories and leads to so much more.

At the start of the book you feel just as lost as Elle, but as the story builds and pieces are put together, the action and emotions of the characters weaves a beautiful story and the ending is action packed.

Thank you to Net Galley for the early access, as well as the author and publisher.

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Elle has lived in a locked house in the sky for as long as she can remember.  Her caretaker tells her that the rest of the world has been ravaged and overcome by demons.  Elle escapes and falls to the Earth, determined to regain her memories from before the house in the sky and regain her magic.  Elle finds help in a strange group, Adair, Leslie and Honeycutt, that all seem to have a connection to Elle.  Elle believes that she needs to find a castle in the sky with a vengeful god, however, she must figure out the secrets of her past before being able to fight.

Where the Lightning Goes is an exciting and unique fantasy.  I was hooked on the story from the moment of Elle escaping the house in the sky.  As Elle falls, she has no memory except for living in the house and no knowledge of the world she has landed on. She must accept things as they happen, as does the reader.  The pacing of the story moves quickly as Elle is faced with decisions.  I loved the journey into the painting to find Adair's heart as well as Leslie, the heart itself.  Through the characters, there is an overwhelming feeling of loss, but also one of hope.  I enjoyed watching as Adair taught Elle magic and the Impossible markets. Honeycutt's character was an amazing addition to the group and began to give some hints as to how the four might be connected.  I even appreciated the demon character and it's unexpected actions. Elle's final battle with the god was amazingly written and offered a satisfying and dramatic ending. 

 This book was received for free in return for an honest review.

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This book starts off with a really interesting concept — Elle can only remember falling from the sky. This fantasy story is wrapped in the big mystery that will require Elle to recover her memories from the sky castle.

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A wizard broke Elle’s soul into pieces and stole her memories. Her last memory was of falling from the sky, which made no sense. After escaping the house she was locked into, the outside world seemed vicious and beautiful. Magic was everywhere, everyone was selfish, and even those telling the truth lied. Elle believed recovering her memories was possible with the sky-castle from her dreams, but getting there required magic she didn’t have. Getting an enchanted painting, stealing a sword from a dragon’s den, and outwitting a demon was the beginning of her journey, and she didn't know where it would end.

This is the first volume in a new series and is very fast-paced. With Elle's missing memories, just about everything is a mystery. This definitely serves as a hook to draw us in from the start. The House was empty, and she had a single friend willing to help her escape. Then she met Adair, a master wizard who was callous and cruel, who had magically cut out his heart and placed it inside a painting, where it named itself Leslie. The wizard's full name had been Leslie Adair, Leslie wanted to help Elle while Adair wanted to remain alone. The trio eventually joins up to find the castle in the air from Elle's dreams, and the dwarf adventurer Honeycutt needs her magic soul-rending sword to defeat the magician calling himself a God within the castle.

The journey to gain allies and find the castle is a fun and twisting one. There are some clues along the way as to what really happened, but it all clicks into place in the final quarter of the novel. Elle learned magic the hard way and tried to figure out how the Demon manipulated them throughout the journey. We still don't know exactly why by the end, though demons bartering in souls for power and boredom seems to be as good an answer as any. The soul splitting and memories tied to it was new to me and kept me reading for more. It's an interesting concept, and a great start to a series exploring the world, the magic available, and what happens next.

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"A god? That's too bad. If you're a god, there's no one for you to pray to."

I can only describe this book as a fantasy mystery where four chaotic individuals with varying personalities work together to get to the sky facing magical markets, dragons and demons along the way. Elle is the first person we meet, she was trapped in a house and doesn't remember anything before the House apart from falling from the sky. She escapes and enlists the help of Adair and Leslie who have their own troubling past. During their journey they find Honeycutt, a dwarf who is also travelling to the sky. Together they must defeat the demon and god in the sky while unraveling the growing mystery unfolding between them.

I REALLY LOVED this one!! I didn't expect to love it as much as I did to be honest! The premise sounded interesting, the cover was beautiful and I loved the title so I requested it from NetGalley! And OMG it was amazing!! I actually recommend not reading the synopsis right before you read the book because I dived into it after forgetting the synopsis and thought it was way better because it actually gives away a pretty big plot point!

Anyway I thought this book was so interesting! The magic, while being just elemental, was nothing like I've read before because we are with Elle as she is learning magic and it is described SO well. The world could've been fleshed out more because I honestly didn't know what the heck was happening there, but the plot and characters definitely caused me to overlook that, why I rated it 5 stars in fact.

The plot was AMAZING like I think it would be the perfect buddy read because you guess along with the characters and the things that you guess, aren't even close to what happens but everything makes so much sense!!? The mystery was PERFECT and the plot twists are also PERFECTION. I wasn't expecting that AT ALL but UGHHHHH it was just perfect!

Now the characters. This was very much a characters driven story and it is lucky that the characters where also such a great part of the book! Elle was driven and resourceful and i absolutely LOVED her character! It was so great to read about! Leslie was good ans so was Adair, I loved the whole concept of soul magic and how he was his heart! They were both written so well with this concept. Honeycutt was also a great character and I loved how much she added to the team. Then Cypress! Omg what a demon he is literally so good and smart and wth!!! Anyway I loved every single POV and was never bored!

I highly recommend this book if you are in the mood for a fast-paced fantasy book with a unique soul and elemental magic, amazing characters, a very intricate plot and riveting mystery! With some added bonus of found family, interesting villains, deep characters with their own unique personality, SUCH GREAT plot twists and engaging writing that literally transports you into the story!

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This book was so engaging from start to finish. Elle has no memories of her life before landing in the house in the sky where she is locked in isolation and only has access to a few books. After ten years she escapes and finds herself in a world she has almost no knowledge of, but is determined to get her memories back. Gathering companions along the way while having no idea who she can trust, she must learn magic and fight to stay alive to learn who she really is.

This is such an amazing story about the complexities of individuals and self-discovery told in a truly unique way. The story seems simplistic in the beginning, however it is anything but. This is a new take on magic that I have not experienced in a book before and I thoroughly enjoyed it. There is a great deal of intricacy to the story that is not immediately apparent, but that comes together beautifully in the end.

I do wish there was a little more of the interaction between Elle and her companion Adair. The develop a very interesting relationship, but the interaction that gets them there is lacking a bit.

It is teen/YA and is appropriate for the younger end of that audience. I am looking forward to re-reading this as a buddy read with my niece in a couple of years.

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This was a really wonderful fantasy mystery book. I don't think I've ever read a fantasy book with THAT much mystery — there were twists and turns about every two pages!
Everything changes, but in a positive manner, every time I think I've figured anything out.

Elle was a very fantastic character, too.

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Where the Lightning Goes is the debut work of author Jackary Salem. This YA Fantasy reads very similar to works by Neil Gaiman and Diana Wynne Jones. It throws you into a new world along with our main character Elle who has lost her memories and is determined to find her way out of the house she is trapped in, regain her memories, and learn magic. The beginning is a bit jarring as we a thrust into this new world with absolutely no idea of where we are, what is going on, etc. because that is the world Elle has been living in for a decade. She fell from the sky ten years ago and has been held against he will (for her own good), isolated in a house with other humans to keep them safe from the demons outside. But Elle knows there is something more going on and that she needs to get out. What follows is a story of discovery beyond anything I was prepared for when I went into this book. Jackary Salem created such a unique character experience that I have not seen before in a YA novel. My only true complaint was that there was some plot armor going on with our main character (not going into details as spoilers). I also would love to have dived more into the world building. It seems that Where the Lightning Goes is meant to be the first in a series, so I hope that we get to learn even more about the world and its magic as the series goes on. Overall, I think it was a fun and whimsical story. 4/5 stars.

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I can honestly say I’ve never read anything like this before, for better or for worse. For a YA book, it was a little complicated to get through. I’m not sure I would have if I were in my teens, but I powered through it because I owed a review—and ultimately, I’m glad I did. I’m not sure I’d seek out the sequel, but if it fell into my lap, I’d definitely take a read, for sure.

What didn’t work for me

The world-building: It was super cool that the reader is just as confused as Elle in the beginning and that you learn about the world around her as she does, but I feel like despite getting bits and pieces of information along the journey, we never really get a full picture of the world at large. All of a sudden, there’s a dragon, for instance, and it’s sort of understood that magic is everywhere, but not everyone has it (who? And how do they figure it out?) and that some places accept it and others don’t. I just really couldn’t draw you a map or even explain what kind of world this is. And I’m still not fully sure I understand the god/demon part of it all.

Elle: I won’t say that the character as a whole didn’t work for me, but there were some inconsistencies that I couldn’t get past. When we’re introduced to Elle, she knows very little about her surroundings, to the point that when she’s introduced to Adair, she has a hard time understanding basic nouns and concepts. Fast-forward a day or two in the story, and all of that has fallen to the wayside. Though she’s still naive, she seems to understand everything perfectly clear from that point forward and it just didn’t sit well with me.

The fight scenes: It could just be that I’m not a fight scene kind of person, but they went into detail that brought me out of the plot instead of in. That could also just be that Salem is a debut author—I have confidence that it will get better as she progresses through the series.

What I liked

The ending: I don’t want to give anything away, so I will leave it vague but I didn’t see the ending coming at all. Some people said that it seemed obvious to them, and maybe I was just looking for something else originally, but I didn’t piece it together until Adair did. It’s something unlike anything I’ve ever read and I give some serious kudos to that! Plus, it means anything further in the series will also be completely different from the first book, which is really interesting.

Honeycutt: Gotta love a badass, bearded female dwarf! Once she gets introduced into the fold and into the found family of the group, it really picks up. She juxtaposes Adair well and gives Elle a female influence that she needs. I loved her.


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This feels like an intriguing start to a new series. It’s a fantasy adventure turned quest as our main character, Elle, falls from the sky into the world after being trapped in a demon-haunted house in the clouds. She has no memory of who she is, only that she’s looking for someone to train her in magic so she can defend herself.

The story starts out well with the mystery of how Elle was trapped and what the world has in store for her. However, because she has no memories, she also doesn’t have knowledge of the things around her. The story could have used more world building which Elle, as one of our main narrators, could not provide. I would say that is the only real drawback. If the author continues in this world, I think there’s lots of opportunity for growth. A sublime example of worldbuilding that’s comparable to this fantasy storyline is the book “Nettle and Bone” by T. Kingfisher. The magic markets are full of intrigue, the social structure is laid out as the characters journey, the landscape and cultures are discovered along with the reader. This book came close but didn’t quite deliver on all those aspects to really set a strong fantasy basis. It truth, what I wanted is more of this interesting world.

One piece of worldbuilding/magic rule that was done quite well was how Elle related to the different elements in magic. Each element, like air or earth, had a different personality that she interacted with to use that specific magic. It was quite a fascinating plot device and also helped Elle grow as a character while learning the different magics. Elle is a bit hard to get behind at first. At times, she could be thoughtlessly aggressive. Once the cast of travelers comes together, the story feels more vivid with the contrasting personalities and different strength each character brings. The author also threads a lot of secrets throughout the plot that will keep readers turning the pages to learn more.

There are elements of myth, fables, found family, heartbreaking loss, and believing in yourself within the pages of this story. This is a very good start, and I’d welcome more of these characters and their adventures.

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Title: Where the Lightning Goes
Author: Jackary Salem
Release Date: May 29th, 2023
Page Count: 372
Format: Paperback
Start Date: May 14th, 2023
Finish Date: June 3rd, 2023

Rating: 5 Stars


At first, this story was all over the place for me. I still enjoyed it. I just found myself having to reread passages several times. This is most likely a personal issue rather than a writing issue. I will acknowledge that I do have ADHD. But I digress. Once I was able to follow along better, I did enjoy it more. It was still at about a 3 star at that point. Then the twist happened and everything was in your face from there forward. I didn't want to put the book down. I'm so happy that this book is going to be a series. I can't wait to read the other books in the series when they come out. I'd also love to try out other books written by this author. I really love their writing style very much. I also loved how different all of the characters were as well. Sometimes, I did feel a bit of a disconnect, but I think that was done on purpose. Also, this cover is so attention grabbing!

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I really enjoyed this book after a slow and somewhat confusing start. Now that I've finished it, I understand why it started that way. The confusion mirrored what Elle, who is the main character of the book, is feeling once she falls out of the sky. But with her confusion comes Elle's impatience, smart mouth and unwavering bravery, even when she's terrified. As she fights to regain her missing memories, Elle meets three people who help her. And all of them are as interesting (and annoying in the case of friggin Leslie) as she is: Adair, who basically has no emotions (sounds like me); Leslie, who has ALL the emotions (which drove me nuts); and Honeycutt, a brave dwarf to be honest is my favorite character.

The battles they have to fight through are intense and had me on the edge of my seat. I love the fantastical elements in the book, (the painting!) and I would not be mad if it is adapted into a show or film. I would love to see some of these elements irl because they were incredibly detailed and fun to read.

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