Carly Is Not Your Damsel In Distress


There has been a fairy tale image embedded into the young adult psyche through a series of images, literary works and then massive advertisements to perpetuate the fairy tale. It’s called the Damsel In Distress. It’s become a tiresome standard in novels, and young adults are over it. Let’s briefly discuss just two fictional damsels.



Sookie had a great many qualities about her that were appealing to different people for different reasons. In literary works, it’s easy to envision someone exactly the way we want them. When Sookie’s character was brought to life by Anna Paquin on television, well…it leaves less to the imagination. Sookie was feisty, defiant and strong-willed. Indeed. But it seems she was only that way when it came to Bill Compton. From the beginning of the series, I noticed some things about her that were off-putting. First, her attitude. Her being a feeble human fraternizing with the likes of vampires, her tongue was a bit tart. Why? She always expected to be saved. She’d usually run off at the mouth, writing a check that her butt could never cash. Every time, here comes Bill Compton or some other man rushing to save her.



Bella was nearly identical to Sookie in terms of attitude and zero gratitude, except that Bella knew when to shut up. She actually had a fear of the vampires she dealt with. But the damsel part, always being in need of saving in some way got old over the course of the complete story (Twilight to Breaking Dawn). It was truly when she developed her shield and contributed to the protection of those she loved, did she become a character to admire. Not just like, but love. There’s a difference. But it took 3 damsel-filled novels in the series to get there.

Basically, the damsel routine is pretentious and tiresome. Or as they say, “played out”. Especially for characters who like to run off at the mouth simply because they have a supernatural lover who’ll defend them at all costs. Because the masses have grown tired of that typical plot, it was imperative that Carly not possess those traits.



While Adam’s dialogue flowed effortlessly, Carly’s required inspiration. It was imperative that the plot be absent of the damsel flaw. I drew inspiration from heroines that I admired. Sofia from Alice Walker’s The Color Purple, Ellen Ripley of the Alien movies, Sarah Connor from Terminator, Selene from Underworld and Alice from Resident Evil. All of these women were strong in character. They were resilient. They fought back, and thought independently of others. Not saying that any of the aforementioned damsels didn’t. It was just my way of contributing to the critical thinking movement.

I am not completely anti-damsel. I just believe that particular character trait shouldn’t be the dominant one. Especially not in the young adult genre. There should be more fresh novels that present strong-willed, courageous young adult characters. Those who aren’t falling down after being chased. Those who don’t run off at the mouth to others who could kill them in an instant. Those who possess more skill and fight, than sass. Basically, the Damsel-In-Distress-Less plot is the wave of the future, and I surely hope that more characters like Carly Wit, Sarah Connor and Ellen Ripley spread like wildfire among the young adult communities. They are our future. Don’t we want them to be strong and proactive?


San Francisco Book Review


Opaque  by Cālix Leigh-Reign is a powerful debut, a compelling psychological novel that deftly combines romance with the unusual mental workings of a growing cynic, creating an engaging story that will take most readers by surprise. Adam Caspian is misanthropic, a troubled young man who is susceptible to thoughts of suicide, contemplating the demise of humanity endlessly. But what could have been looked at as a psychological condition soon becomes a key that unlocks his exceptional gifts. Now he is on a mental journey toward self-discovery.

It’s interesting to watch as the character develops, embracing a relationship that transports him beyond himself with the Afro-Russian Carly Wit, a girl with peerless beauty. Watching him as he explores his roots, unveiling mysteries about his past and coming to terms with himself will be a mind-blowing experience for readers.

The language is superb, filled with symbolism, and evocative. The opening of the story offers readers a powerful idea of what the protagonist feels, introducing the duality of darkness and light that will permeate the mental struggle that dominates the book. “Darkness and light cannot occupy the same space at the same time, so I’ve always known that one had to die in order for the other to thrive. The struggle has been, which one for which purpose. I could never have imagined that my stygian thoughts would ever be elevated high enough to where they’d soar among biologically evolved human beings.”

For a debut, Opaque (Scion Saga) is a huge success, and the author comes across as a master storyteller, and readers will be amazed at the psychological depth of this novel, an area that is well explored and borders on the paranormal. The characters are hors pair, well-imagined and beautifully laid out in a story that is filled with twists and surprises. This is a page-turner, an exciting story, and a huge promise for a debut.

Calix Leigh-Reign
Star Count:
Page Count:
256 pages
Nnylluc Book Group LLC
Publish Date:
December 2016
Young Adult

Book Review: Opaque by Cālix Leigh-Reign

Seize the Fiction


Title: Opaque (#1 Scion Saga)

Author: Cālix Leigh-Reign

Publisher: Nnylluc Book Group LLC

Genre: Sci Fi-| Fantasy | Young Adult

Release Date: October 22, 2016

Summary from Goodreads

Highly controversial debut novel by Cālix Leigh-Reign is taking the nation by storm! For those who’ve been craving an untapped damsel-in-distress-less Sci-Fi niche – Opaque delivers in this gripping page-turner involving mutated Limbal rings,biokenretic anomalies, mental dysfunction, perplexing Russian ancestry & romance.Cālix takes us on an adventure that begins when 16 year old misanthropic Adam Caspian unknowingly reaches biokenretic puberty, and his supernatural abilities awaken to save him from his murderous intentions. His every thought revolves around the extinction of the human race until mysterious Afro-Russian Carly Wit stumbles into his English class one morning. Adam notices something otherworldly about her immediately but denies the bio-synch taking place inside of him. As he resists their blossoming love, he battles with unnatural thoughts…

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Midwest Book Review of Opaque


Calix Leigh-Reign
Cayelle Publishing LLC/Surge
9780997923988 (paperback), $14.99
9781684197392 (ebook), $ 3.99

AdamAdam is a troubled young adult who hates the world and holds the latent power to change it: an ability which awakens with deadly consequences when he reaches the age of sixteen.

But Opaque is far more than the story of this angst-ridden teen’s coming of age. It embraces mutants, Russian involvements, programmed hearts and minds, and purposes far greater than one individual’s quest or vision, using language that is complex and often startling, evident from its very first paragraph.

Visceral, angry, and hard-hitting in its descriptions, readers should expect nothing less of Opaque than an emotional roller coaster ride that begins with a bang and drives forcefully through a teen’s perspective of his world: “Society molds our emotions to be absent compassion for our fellow man, to judge without mercy, to worship currency and empty our minds of rational thought. But one must think in order to perform the murderous tasks set before us. A vote of guilty for instance. I rebel only to relent. The daily realizations frustrate me and my once-godly thoughts disembark their positive spiritual flight. I merely allow them to return to their comfort zone. I could literally kill every living creature and feel the same nothing I already feel.”

But this is only the opening salvo in the war: there’s a mother’s journal, sealed with a blood line that only family DNA can decode; there’s sexual and terrifying connections between Adam and the women around him (“Under normal circumstances, I likely would’ve gotten a boner but this woman terrifies me. I like her. I like her a lot. “I sense that you are a predator who has thought of doing many horrible things. Your unnatural feelings for your mother fuel your predatory side.” She’s speaking very low and through her perfect teeth, so no one else can hear. She pins me to the wall with her energy, and stares directly into my eyes. “You have no times to hurt my daughter. All descendants can become predatory if they so choose.” Her LR flashes brightly. “If we can turn it on, we can turn it off. Find your off-switch or it will be found for you.”), and there’s a gritty immediacy to his evolutionary process that will leave readers not just on the edges of their seats, but gasping for air.

No light read and no casual coming-of-age story, Opaque is laden with angst, psychological power, and is a tale of dysfunction in a world where supernatural abilities can thwart mental illness, where a mysterious Afro-Russian girl who holds the power to divert Adam from the apocalypse he’s preparing for the future.

Under Calix Leigh-Reign’s hand, a different kind of revolution is taking place. It’s in the very cells of her characters, in the changed ways they interact with each other and the world, and in the blossoming power that give them new choices: “I feel her. Differently. I feel the energy inside of her cells and they’re calling out to me. Teleportation, increased speed, portal creation and interface. I wonder if she knows. I’m sure she does. But how do I know?”

As Opaque winds its way up to a crescendo of passion and angst, it carries readers on a roller coaster of emotion and change that dives right down into cellular layers of choice and struggles for survival. Regeneration, new awakenings, biokenretic energy and questions of immortality and immorality all blend into a heady mixture that considers how monsters are made and battled.

Suffice it to say that sci-fi readers from mature teens to adults who seek complex story lines and plots that steep their characters with awakening powers and new decision-making processes will find Opaque a powerful force. Complex, driven by clashes between darkness and light, and seriously overwhelming, it’s a tense page-turner that does more than present a teen’s world. It pulls the reader in to an evolutionary process that is far more than one of transition points, but embraces moral and ethical conundrums.

Review courtesy of Diane Donovan of Midwest Book Review and Donovan Literary Services

Serious Reading Interview


When did it dawn upon you that you wanted to be a writer?

There was no singular “a-ha” moment. Honestly, God led me to words. Not just in His book or other books. I developed a desire to write and see my own words printed on paper at such a young age that I now look back on it and wonder why my parents didn’t inquire lol. Reading and writing are simply a part of who I’ve always been.

Read the entire interview on and take a look at their review of Opaque as well.

Censory Perceptions

There seems to be an abundance of censors and literary gatekeepers to prevent raw young adult literature from being presented to publishing houses. Based on my brief research, publishing houses are desperately seeking raw and gritty young adult material, but will not accept it from unsolicited authors. So, you see, one could stand to reason that they’ve boxed themselves into a prison of sorts. I’m sure they receive no shortage of material., but it might be time for a shift in logistics.

Til Next Time,