Agent Nomad: The eleventh hour by Skye Melki-Wegner

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Random House Australia, 2017. ISBN 9780143780151
(Age: 14+) The eleventh hour is the first book in the new Agent Nomad series by Skye Melki-Wegner. At 15 years old a genetic anomaly has given Natalie Palladino the ability to manipulate a source of power called quintessence. But Natalie is not your average sorcerer; she is a rare and hunted witness who can see the quintessences of other sorcerers, thus bearing witness to the magic others have performed or are about to perform.
After spending her early years travelling the world with her mother Natalie was sent to live with her father in the small town of Hollingvale on the Mornington Peninsular in Victoria. Then, hauled from an average teenage student life into the world of secret agents known as HELIX, Natalie Palladino reinvents herself as Nomad and we travel with Nomad on a fast paced adventure as HELIX endeavours to protect Nomad and innocents from the Inductors.
Excitedly, I applauded the female protagonist, Natalie, who appears to be unsure of herself to start, but her character develops into an independent, feisty and strong individual. Drawing on Natalie's experiences as she tries to empathise with the people around her and anticipate what impact her choices will have on others, the author offers insight into friendships; not only the components of what makes a person your friend but also how to be a friend to others.
Skye Melki-Wegner makes an attempt to explore important teen issues such as developing skills in teamwork, maintaining friendship, valuing your own self-worth and personal sacrifice which will encourage the reader to think about how their own perspectives and actions can enhance and confuse their relationships.
Written in a simple yet engaging style I still felt that the momentum of the story was forced through each key moment, hurrying to explain history during a crucial event and skimming over important character development.
All this being said, I was very impressed with the finale when Natalie and her team want to prevent a sorcerous bomb from exploding but cannot see a solution... I did not see this twist coming nor the secrets revealed about her parents! You will have to read The eleventh hour to find out more. For readers aged 14 and up.
Sharon Smith (Children's and Youth services Librarian Riverina Regional Library)