The Gifts Of Life

Colours of Humanity

About The Book

What are The Gifts Of Life?

In a fantasy world where everyone is divided by colour, a young teen, Perry, and his best friend, Faith, are coerced into a thrilling adventure after the demise of their home. On the run, the duo learn that they have magical powers; the only problem is that when they use their gifts, they must sacrifice something else in return.

Join Perry, a teen who can teleport and walk through walls, his little sister, Teala, their family friend, Faith, the most powerful being in the world, and Bailey, a talking panda, as the four migrate across the continent in search of refuge.

Experience a new world with the introduction of the White City, Kelton Whide, the Green City, Everbreen, and many locations in between—from refined farmlands, religious cults, suburban paradises and a magnificent city on top of the back of a sleeping giant.

Through hardships, loss, fear and a little bit of romance, Perry and his friends overcome many obstacles to achieve their goal: to reach the safety of The Green City and defeat the terrorist leader who destroyed their home.

Now a Number 1 best selling book on Amazon

The Gifts Of Life

Awards 2018-2019 - The Gifts of Life

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Young Author Releases Debut Five Weeks Before his Year 12 Examinations and Again During A Global Pandemic

The Gifts Of Life The Gifts Of Life: Colourful Edition

The Gifts of Life (2018) and The Gifts of Life: Colourful Edition (2020)

On June 1st, award winning writer and university student, Oliver Smuhar will be rereleasing his original debut, The Gifts of Life in preparation for its sequel.

While most youngsters confronted with the HSC (High School Certificate) examinations try their best to study, hang with friends or practice past papers, Oliver Smuhar decided to release a book.

"It's funny telling the story," the nineteen year old says. "I've always wanted to do what I enjoy and that's story telling. So if I have to do the insane to accomplish that, I will."

Originally releasing July 21st, 2018 five weeks before Mr Smuhar's Trial HSC examinations, The Gifts of Life went on to win several awards including 'Reader Views' Reviewers Choice Award for Best Book Written by an Author Age 18 or Under' and the '2018-2019 Global Award' for Australia.

Oliver Smuhar

The Gifts of Life one year anniversary.

Completing his high school certificate, the young writer is now studying full time at the University of Technology, Sydney. With two years of writing experience under his belt and a selling novel in several stores, Mr Smuhar has changed his perspective when it comes to releasing his books.

"I was really young when the first book came out," Mr Smuhar says. "I didn't understand that you had to consistently promote a product before and after its release".

With his intention of releasing his debut's sequel, The Gifts of Happiness later in the year, Mr Smuhar has decided to take this opportunity to reinvent his image.

"The first book was no New York Times' best seller, but it was definitely a learning experience. I'm a lot older now and I wanted a new image, not only the first book, but for the series as a whole," Mr Smuhar says.

The Gifts of Life is the first book in The Colours of Humanity. Its latest version, The Colourful Edition is set for release June 1st, 2020. When asked about the series and how sales may be impacted by the global pandemic, Mr Smuhar said, "It's been really hard. I've tried to take what I can and use the self isolation to my advantage. I'm trying my best to distract myself and hopefully I can be an example of something positive coming from the crisis."

"A lot of the themes in both books are about identity, social norms and culture and I think that these ideas could really strengthen us all coping with the coronavirus." My Smuhar affirms. "To maybe stand together—or a part—so that one day we can look back and see that everyone's helping everyone."

The Gifts of Life is an epic fantasy written by a young adult with talking animals, supernatural abilities and a fight for survival in a deep new world inspired by Australia. It has received praise from Publishers Weekly's BookLife receiving a 9/10 for originality.

‘Every facet of the setting is detailed meticulously in the exposition. As the characters become more aware of their magical powers and travel farther away from their home, the inventiveness ramps up considerably.' Booklife.

Mr Smuhar's female lead, Faith has been commended as a new heroine for readers.

‘[Faith's] strength throughout the book, especially the start, is ladylike, but also a great role model of tough feminism. The way she takes on the world in the opening, while sticking to her interest in art, is beautiful.' Compulsive Reader.

The young writer doesn't intend to only write books.

"I think my ultimate goal is to make a movie. But we'll have to wait until the world goes back to normal," Mr Smuhar says.

Oliver Smuhar

Author Oliver Smuhar. Picture: Brad Thomson.

Find out more about The Gifts of Life, its sequel and other projects and follow Mr Smuhar’s Facebook Page:

For review copies and interviews with Oliver Smuhar contact:

The original version of The Gifts of Life is available here.

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Mountain Blue Publishing
Tuesday, May 11th 2020

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#1 best selling book in Contemporary Fantasy and Children's Folk Tales & Myth Collections

Within the first 48 hours of the rerelease's launch in 2020 The Gifts Of Life: Colourful Edition reached the Number 1 best selling spot on two Amazon lists.

No 1 Contemporary Fantasy No 1 Children's Folk Tales & Myth Collecgtions

What People Are Saying

Excellent read!!!!!

A very enjoyable read. It allowed my imagination to enter a different reality, whilst it kept me enticed and interested in their journey of discovery. The characters of the book were ‘common', yet in the same breath ‘uncommon'. Some of their personality traits, we can all relate to, but others were so quirky it made them individual and fascinating. By the end of the book, you felt as though you really did know their souls and yet again, they continued to surprise you. Can't wait to see where the next book takes you!! ... more


Awesome Book

Awesome book, absolutely awesome! You will not want to put this book down. It has a great story line with young adventurous adults that have super powers. There are battles between good and evil and it's set in a mysterious world.

The author has done an exceptional job at developing the characters, their personalities and their friendships. You will find yourself engrossed in every scene almost as if you were there in person.

A very captivating read highly recommended to anyone who enjoys a good adventure.
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Absolutely Intriguing!!!

I stumbled upon this fascinating book and once I started reading it, I found I couldn't put it down. I was captivated and was eager to see what would happen next. For such a young author I'm astonished at how much talent he has. I will certainly be keeping an eye out for this author in the future. ... more


Book of addiction

When I first purchased this book I really wasn't sure what is was about, however, I was curious. If you are into a good adventure then this is the book for you. I was captivated by the characters and the plot continued to twist. I was keen to resume reading to see what happened next, I have to say it is a book of addiction. Highly recommended. ... more


Best Read

Great read! It was a lot a fun and quite a surprise. The characters were interesting and deeper than most other fictions and the story's really creative. I've never read anything like it tbh. All and all, it was worth a read as there's nothing like it! ... more


A great first effort!

I enjoyed this book greatly. For a 1st time author, I believe he did a remarkable job of bringing life to his characters. I am looking forward to more from Oliver Smuhar!

P. S. Donovan

Editor's Review

In the world of Oberon there are cities characterised by the landscape surrounding them and the people within them, just as in the real world. The lands traversed by its inhabitants vary greatly the further they travel: vast, concrete cities adorned with white marble and pristine lawns, the never-ending stretch of desert full of people equally as harsh as the land they live on, and lush green rainforests home to caves and animals of all descriptions. But that is where the similarities stop. In this unique universe created by one of Australia's up-and-coming (not to mention one of its youngest) authors, each city hosts a beacon—a powerful light source that awakens the powers of the individuals connected to them through the crests imprinted on their arms from birth. Power, especially great power, however, can become a burden, as Perry Caduca and his friends discover.

As Perry, his younger sister Teala, his best friend Faith, and the family servant, Bailey, prepare for the Ascension Ceremony, the yearly gathering to celebrate the switching on of Kelton Whide's beacon, Perry realises that something is amiss—he just doesn't know what. He, Teala, Faith and Bailey are chased out of town by a villain in a white suit by the name of Araidian, along with his sadistic, heavily-armed followers and a giant flying creature resembling a pterodactyl, it becomes clear that whatever it is definitely isn't good. Forced to flee their home town for the safety of Everbreen, a rainforest haven a month's walk away, Perry has to work out a way to reconcile himself with the looming threat of Araidian and his men as well as his now ever-present powers and the darkness they hold.

The book isn't all dark though; the friendship that develops between Perry, Faith, Teala and Bailey, along with the other people they meet along the way, serve to alleviate some of the more graphic scenes (one of which includes a situation in which two kids are forced to fight to the death with a kitchen knife). There are also some pretty cool characters with some fairly original powers, including a salesman whose special power is to vomit up objects for his store. It's also nice to see the use of the Australian landscape developed into a unique fantasy universe, something which is both original to this novel and really, really works.

Smuhar's book is a shining example of dark young adult fantasy that keeps you guessing until the very end—think Deltora Quest meets the Hunger Games with an awesome hybrid dragon creature made of smoke thrown in for good luck. Sadly though, we'll have to wait until the next book to find out what happens to Perry and his newfound animal friends, and to discover the gift from the man in the boat.

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Expert Editors

Review by Tzipporah Tiffenright for Compulsive Reader

Oliver Smuhar's The Gifts of Life is a deep and entrancing novel, with its strong fantasy based plotline and elements of the coming of age genre. The rich and well thought out characters created clever relationships and delightful banter.

The character of Faith, the powerful, intellectual heroine, but also best friend and love interest to main character Perry, was a favourite of mine. Her strength throughout the book, especially the start, is ladylike, but also a great role model of tough feminism. The way she takes on the world in the opening, while sticking to her interest in art, is beautiful. This dwindles a little as the events of the book take its toll on her, but resilience is a formidable ally which she draws on in times of need.

The start of the book was quite relatable to adolescence, more so to late teens. In a specific party setting nearing the beginning of the book there were definite drug references, along with the strong coarse language used throughout, which did add to the feel of the story, but made it less appropriate for younger audiences.

As the plotline developed, use of strong bloody gore and serious sexual violence made the book definitely not appropriate for young teens. I recommend this book for late highschool and young adults.

Besides this, when I finished reading the book, I was left with new concepts and ideas of how the world could be. I congratulate this young author on his first book; a very knowledgeable and insightful read.

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Review by Skyler Boudreau for Reader Views

In the fantastical debut novel, "The Gifts of Life," author Oliver Smuhar brings readers on an adventure across a vast world rife with danger and obstacles. After a mysterious attack on the only city they've ever known as ‘home,' young protagonists Perry and Faith must embark on a quest for answers in a faraway land called Everbreen. Their only guide is Perry's friend Bailey, who has not seen Everbreen in several years.

Smuhar provides an interesting blend of fantastical and modern elements for his novel's setting. Though he has crafted various fictional countries for his protagonists to explore, the setting includes references to modern conveniences, such as Facebook and wireless earpieces. These unexpected additions add a delightful sense of familiarity in an otherwise strange and mysterious setting.

In "The Gifts of Life," everyone has some form of magical ability, whether it be the power of teleportation, the ability to manipulate glass, or even the creation of fog and other weather phenomenon. There is, however, a catch. These powers are only permitted for use one day a year in an annual celebration called the ‘Ascension Ceremony.' Using them outside of that time is ‘breaking Taboo.' This detail is both an intriguing and uncommon limit placed upon magic users in fantasy novels.

One area I would like to have seen more of is in character development. Many of the characters lack distinctions between each other, and it's very easy to mix them up. The narrative is told through dual points of view in first person, switching back and forth between Perry and Faith. They read similarly, and it often feels as though there is only one narrator. Other times the point of view shifts from first person to third person and describes events separate to what the intended narrator is experiencing.

There are also times when the pacing of the plot shifts dramatically. On chapter covers a few day-to-day events, but then the following chapter skips ahead several months. It gives the overall story a somewhat disjointed feeling and makes the timeline difficult to follow.

With this lengthy debut, Oliver Smuhar proves he has great potential as an author. He can only improve his craft as he gains experience. Middle-grade readers and beginning young adult readers are sure to enjoy "The Gifts of Life," a new, fantastical adventure from a promising young author!

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Review by Megan Weiss, Young Adult Reviewer for Reader Views

Oliver Smuhar's "The Gifts of Life" takes readers on an otherworldly adventure. Perry Caduca is the hero of the story. After a devastating and fiery attack on their city during the year's most important festival, Perry, his little sister, Teala, and their two friends Faith and Bailey, he must leave his home and travel hundreds of miles to a strange land in order to find safety again.

The plot line of "The Gifts of Life" is unique, and the world Smuhar has created has clearly been built through a lot of time and stitching together of little details. When creating a story that takes place in a different kind of world from our own, it's always important that this world has one special difference from our own reality. This manifests in "The Gifts of Life" in the form of abilities. Each person has a special talent. Back home, the use of these abilities is strictly forbidden. During their travels, Perry, Faith, Bailey, and Teala learn how to harness these abilities, but each pays a price in order to strengthen them. Having spent so many years wishing they could freely experiment with these abilities and talk about them, they learn quickly that we all need to be careful what we wish for. Our wish might just come true, but what must we give up in return?

"The Gifts of Life" certainly has a lot of potential, though there are aspects of the book that could see some strengthening, such as characterization. At some points, I could really see defining moments that brought out each character's personality, but there were also times when they all seemed to act almost too much alike. Another suggestion I have would be to strengthen dialogue. Dialogue can be tricky to write even for the most experienced writers, and at times the dialogue in the story seemed a little too formal for a little girl and three teenagers to be using. A book needs to have a careful balance of exposition and dialogue, and I think at times the dialogue took away from what was going on in a particular scene. Also, as a reader, I would have found the story easier to follow if it had been broken up into sections. It was hard at times to figure out the pacing of the story. Sometimes it went day-by-day, and other times it skipped weeks or months at a time. This in itself is not a problem, it just needs to have more context for why time is moving the way it is.

"The Gifts of Life" is certainly targeted towards a young-adult or even middle-grade audience. The novel would be a great read for fans series such as The Hunger Games or Divergent. Prospective readers should buckle up and prepare themselves for an adventure that is fueled by a fight to survive after witnessing tragedy and losing all you've ever known. I think 17-year-old author, Oliver Smuhar, has a very bright career in store for him.

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Review by BookLife

Plot: The narrative is more or less linear, following a group of friends as they travel across the vast and inventive fantasy world of Oberon. The book is loosely formed into episodes as the friends travel through different regions of the world. A number of mysteries are woven into the plot to help propel the narrative forward, as the main plot hook is relatively thin and mostly serves to provide the characters with a destination.

Prose: The narrative pace is somewhat slow, with long dialogue exchanges and descriptions dense with adjectives hampering the plot's momentum. Occasionally the dialogue can become overly philosophical, which can take readers out of the story.

Originality: The world is inventive and original, and every facet of the setting is detailed meticulously in the exposition. As the characters become more aware of their magical powers and travel farther away from their home, the inventiveness ramps up considerably. Coupled with the strong core group of characters, this makes for an enjoyable read.

Character Development: There are many characters in this book—perhaps too many, as most are inconsequential. The core characters—Perry, Faith, Teala, and Bailey—are well-rendered and nuanced, with unique personalities reflected in their actions and dialogue. The relationship between these primary characters is the book's greatest strength, as their banter with each other is natural and engrossing, and adds to the adventuresome feel of the narrative.

Blurb: An impressive and inventive adventure that will excite fantasy readers eager for something fresh and different.

Score: Plot/Idea 6, Originality 9, Prose 7, Character/Execution 9... Overall 7.75

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