Neffatira’s First Challenge

Fourteen-year-old Neffie Anderson has it bad. She’s freakishly tall and dark-skinned, with ugly pink freckles on her cheeks. Just when she can’t imagine life getting any worse, a mysterious grandfather shows up with the life-altering news her parents aren’t from different continents, as she’s always thought. They’re from different universes.

Soon afterward, the newly discovered version of Neffie Anderson—now, the noble Neffatira Akou Sargie—is bending across the Tymes to take up her new life on the feudal world of Fastness, where rival blood-clans are vying for power and skilled noblewomen act as champions, fighting elaborate duels for honor, prestige and prizes.

Forget about being in the right clique at school or winning popularity. On her newly adopted world, a deadly civil war is looming and both sides want Lady Neffatira either with them or permanently out of their way. Neffie has much to learn—and she’d better learn it quickly!

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Praise for the book:

Midwest Book Review:

“Risks, battles, and the evolving powers of a teen who is at once human and light guardian creates the riveting story fueled by Neffie’s strong personality and lessons. The blend of action, quest, and personal growth encounters makes Neffie an appealing, believable character. Teen fantasy readers are in for a treat with Neffatira’s First Challenge as Neffie’s world moves from a quest for popularity to a pursuit of much bigger goals.”

Kirkus Reviews:

“Xavier’s latest novel is a fantasy that explores aspects of bigotry in intriguing ways. For example, people with green eyes, such as fellow human Kerem Alp, are automatically considered thieves in the Fastness. The novel also features striking visual descriptions; for instance, when Gannen activates Neffie’s power, “The stars brightened, crackled and began oozing… like drips of glowing water rolling down black glass.” In the end, although Neffie is too young to fully embrace her destiny as one of the Fastness’ “half-human super-champions,” she nevertheless risks all for love and life. After this installment’s cliffhanger, fans will likely flock to a sequel.”

Book Excellence Awards:

“It’s also wonderful to see some divergence from the typical female protagonist found in YA stories. Xavier has created a protagonist who is relatable and inspirational and readers will root for her as the story progresses. Overall, the book is well-written, well-structured, and explores themes that carry direct relevance to the target reader. A must read for readers looking for a compelling, impactful story.”