Synopsis: Eighteen-year old Daria Jones feels trapped in the cow-strewn suburbs of Fresno, California. And with a dad so overprotective he’s installed video and thermal surveillance down the street, she doesn’t get out much. Until the night he disappears. Following the trail of notes he left, Daria gathers three things: someone’s after her, her dad’s gone to another world on a cryptic mission, and the only one left to trust is her ex-best friend, Alex.
After a heart-wrenching break and three years of silence, Alex is the last person she wants to see. But the more she learns about her dad’s absence, the more she realizes she must go to that other world to find him. Even if it means trusting the guy she hates. She agrees to follow Alex through the nearest of seven portals—the heart of Yosemite National Park. But finding her dad in a magical world isn’t easy with a brigade of dark sorcerers chasing her trail.
Amidst a world of diabolical creatures, ancient magic, and bizarrely intuitive vegetation, Daria discovers the truth of her past. But unless she conquers the dark force that’s hunting her, Daria will never see her dad again. And if the dark force gets its way, the world as she knows it will never be the same.
To be honest, fantasy is not my favorite genre. Not even close. This is the reason why it took me about a week to finish this book, which is far too long. But despite the time it took me to get through this book, I still liked it. Barbara Kloss's writing was fun and entertaining, but at times could get repetitive.
The protagonist, Daria, is extremely stubborn. Honestly, I do not know if I have ever read of a protagonist more stubborn than she is. Sometimes, I felt annoyed with her but I could also understand why she was so hardheaded. Being lied to for all her life and being betrayed by her closest friends, I can completely comprehend why Daria would be sort of bitter.
Barbara Kloss does a really great job on creating the whole magical world of Gaia. It's very unique and extremely dangerous. It was fun discovering all the different aspects of this different world. Also, the characters and creatures in Gaia were all intriguing.
I thought that the plot was rather slow. It took me a while to get into this book, but fantasy has never been a favorite genre of mine. For the majority of the novel, it seemed like nothing extremely important happened. But when it got to the last quarter of the novel, the plot picked up and I couldn't flip the pages fast enough.
My favorite part of the novel was definitely the romance and chemistry between Alex and Daria. It was really well done. No insta-love (thank the spirits)! I'm so completely heartbroken over the ending. I don't want to believe it's true!
Gaia's Secret is a fascinating story of a magical world that will entice fans of the fantasy genre. Although I am not one of those fans, I still enjoyed Gaia's Secret.