Earthcore Book 1: RotoVegas, by Grace Bridges
Reviewed by Jenn Rackham
RotoVegas is a fun book about the teen protagonist, Anira, visiting Rotorua and finding that the water gives her strange and unique powers. She sets out to find others like her and they form a team to stop others from using their powers for the wrong reason.
The title RotoVegas at first made me think it would be about gambling and casinos but I was pleasantly surprised to find it wasn’t. I felt the title choice was due to Grace highlighting the entertainment and tourism side of Rotorua in her usual visceral descriptions.
The story has another layer where Grace artfully weaves New Zealand myths and folklore into the story of our unlikely heroes, and I felt that the book would be great for those who are interested in New Zealand and in particular, visiting Rotorua.
The dialogues and the characters are realistic and as someone who grew up in Rotorua, I could easily identify with many of the features Grace put in through the characters and the atmosphere. Grace includes a lot of the aspects of New Zealand life in her story, with vivid descriptions of the land, language and mannerism around the characters that would be a treat to those who love exploring the world the story is set in.
Superpowers from hot springs? Who knew?
On her return to New Zealand, Anira finds herself mysteriously affected by legendary spirits emanating from the natural geology and untamed thermal forces of Rotorua. And they have a job for her to do.
Soon Anira finds others like her, people young and old who are similarly called by the kaitiaki. Together they are caught up in a race against the developer intent on destroying the natural springs that are the home of the ancients and the source of their powers.