The protagonist of RETENTION is Saphora, a young woman with unusual and misunderstood powers. With mint-green hair she has come to terms with being different. Now she struggles to master her powers and recover lost memories from her childhood. When her past comes knocking, destroying her peace and trust in a matter of days, Saphora is forced to reevaluate her life and what she wants. She encounters allies in her adoptive mother, Fran, and a new friend Maverick. Stalked by a manic fire-ball wielding hunter, framed in a murder case, and suspected of insanity — or worse — by her therapist, Saphora’s troubles are just beginning.
Ms. Johnson created a headstrong and frustrated young woman in Saphora and we get to know her better through the equally developed Maverick and Fran. Though Saphora faces problems from another world, she also struggles with issues will look very familiar to many readers — how to belong, how to be independent, and most of all, how to find love when one is struggling to love themselves.
RETENTION brought a new twist to familiar mythic characters and built two worlds — that of the Athenians, and Saphora’s own sphere in our world — that felt very real. The writing itself could have used further revision and some paring down, but the story made it well worthwhile. I am particular when it comes to writing, and despite that, this story pulled me in and had me staying up late to see what would happen next. I am excited to read Ms. Johnson’s next installment of Saphora’s story.
Jaz Johnson is a proud supporter of #WeNeedDiverseBooks and #LGBT. As an African American woman, she firmly believes in writing diverse and relatable books and characters for her readers. She currently focuses on fantasy, science fiction, and romance.