Find out the latest indie author news. For FREE.

Joshua Whitley
Opulent Shoals: The Black Butterfly

Quarter Finalist

Plot/Idea: 10 out of 10
Originality: 10 out of 10
Prose: 10 out of 10
Character/Execution: 10 out of 10
Overall: 10.00 out of 10


Plot: Six teenagers empowered by an encounter with a supernatural being is pulled off with rich characters in this third installment of a series. Whitley maintains a sense of tension and intrigue within the opening pages, maintaining that momentum until the conclusion.

Prose: Whitley crafts an intricate story through vivid and detailed scenes. The novel's greatest strength, however, is in its subtle world building. The author allows the novel's atmospheric tone to carry the work, rather than overtly describing the circumstances or dictating what readers should fear.

Originality: In a number of respects, this novel relies on familiar tropes of YA paranormal fiction. However, the author integrates fresh and thoughtful elements--notably, with the inclusion of Jesus as one of the powers, and the ensuing theological discussions embedded in the story. The close focus on individual characters and how each grapples with the life-altering circumstances, lends additional value and substance to the narrative. 

Character Development: Characters have separate and distinct voices, and dialogue is especially fine. By providing intimate details about characters' individual personal struggles, Whitley builds multidimensional protagonists who aren't solely defined by the events at-hand.

Date Submitted: August 29, 2019