In Review: Asper

Rhonda Smiley makes a splash with her first Ya Novel.

Synopsis: 16-year-old sorceress, Milla, loses everything in an instant—her father, her home, her life as she knows it—over a sacred scroll that can merge Asper with Earth.

Ignited by grief, she sets out for vengeance but discovers she’s no match for the murderous queen who seeks to rule both worlds.

Determined, Milla flees through a portal to Earth where she can master her craft without being hunted, and return for the kill. While there, she bonds with 17-year-old Parker who, despite his conniving ex-girlfriend, believes in her.

But when a spell her father cast to bury her memories begins to wane, glimpses of a past she never knew start surfacing. A past so unthinkable, it derails her future.

Should she still do what she set out to? Or risk everything—Earth, Asper, Parker—for the sake of hope?

Review: Asper the debut novel by Rhonda Smiley is, in short, a cracking read. I’m not especially a big reader as a rule. And when I do choose to read something I normally leave the Ya books on the shelf because they’re not really aimed at me.

But one of the great things about Asper is that it is inclusive and puts the reader at ease right off the bat by giving us likable characters that you genuinely care for. Even the villainous Queen has you wondering what could have possibly happened to make her so evil.

The main character of Milla is immediately likable and most will relate to her not wanting to study her magic, but instead hang out with friends. But when events transpire that force her to learn her magic. She pulls herself up by the bootstraps but makes mistakes too. She’s no Mary Sue, which is a great relief given that we are being given so many of those of late.

The relationship that builds between Milla and Parker is nicely written and I think most teenage girls who read this book will likely swoon at the romantic imagery of the young man on the motorcycle.

Overall. This is a fun read that provides a fun high fantasy backdrop for some fantastically well-realized characters that readers will instantly like.

And given that Rhonda Smiley is better known for her work as a television writer. It’s a fantastic first novel.

  • Cover
  • Story
  • Characters

Ian Cullen is the founder of and has been a fan of science fiction and fantasy from birth. In the past few years he has written for 'Star Trek' Magazine as well as interviewed numerous comics writers, television producers and actors for the SFP-NOW podcast at: When he is not writing for Ian enjoys playing his guitar, studying music, watching movies and reading his comics. Ian is both the founder and owner of You can contact ian at: [email protected]
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