First off, my apologies for the lateness of this post — I’ve been sick the last couple days and I’ve been rushing to both write and post my review.
Second, if you missed the beginning of the Farsighted blog tour, please check out Monday’s post for an interview with author Emlyn Chand (who is also the president of PR firm Novel Publicity), and also check out all the information about the various events and prizes for this week’s blog tour.
And now, here’s my review of Farsighted:
Author: Emlyn Chand
Genre: YA Fantasy
Where I Got It: A free ebook copy from the author in exchange for an honest review
Score: 5 out of 5
In Farsighted, the first of a series about main character Alex Kosmitoras, Alex’s sophomore year of high school might just kill him. His parents are scraping to make ends meet. His hard-working mother is loving but very overprotective, his unemployed father is distant and acting strange. The high school bully is hell-bent on making Alex’s life miserable. And to top it all off, Alex is blind. But that’s all par for the course, and his life is about to get a whole hell of a lot more complicated.
Just as Alex is making friends with the two new girls: Simmi, who is kind and smells like an Almond Joy bar, and Shapri, who is smart, blunt, and no-nonsense, he begins to “see” things — or rather, hear, feel, and smell things. Things that seem to happen, and then happen again. Things he can’t distinguish from reality. Things, he soon learns, that mean he has developed the ability to “see” the future. Stumbling through the school year, shouting at people who aren’t really there, and generally making a fool of himself, he attempts to ignore his new gifts. Until he discovers that his new friend Simmi may be in danger, and only his powers can save her. Now, with help from the psychic who just moved in next door to his mother’s shop, and his new friends who may have special gifts of their own, Alex must work hard to change Simmi’s future, and his own.
Yeah, and you thought YOUR high school years were difficult.
What I Liked:
Let’s start with the characters.
Alex is a well-written, believable blind teenage boy written by a not-blind married woman — not an easy thing to pull off. Alex is a very typical teenage boy, in fact. Alex loves his mother but is constantly embarrassed by her over-the-top affection and little-boy nicknames. He desperately wants his father to love him, and fears that he will never be enough for his father. His crush on Simmi leads him to do some cute and some stupid things in a very believable fashion, so that all we can do as readers is nod in understanding and say: “ah, hormones…” And even when he does something REALLY stupid, it is still in character, understandable as something a teenage boy might do when he doesn’t quite understand how stupid his conclusions are — of course, when he does this stupid thing (I won’t spoil it for you), I just wanted to smack him in the back of the head and tell him to stop being an idiot. Through all of this however, Alex remains smart and resourceful, doing the best he can to salvage a difficult situation in admirable fashion. He is relatable, sympathetic, and likable.
The other characters are well-written as well. Simmi and Shapri are both kind, smart teenager girls, but they are very much their own characters, with distinct and interesting character traits. While Simmi is sweet and more on the quiet side, Shapri is out-spoken and blunt. Admittedly, I sometimes thought Simmi was a little too good to be true, but sometimes you really do find that special girl is just so sweet and so patient, that you almost can’t believe it. Of the two girls, I definitely prefer Shapri though. You’ve probably noticed by now I have a thing for female characters who are strong and out-spoken (probably because I’m not particularly out-spoken myself). It is amusing to watch how both girls turn Alex’s world upside down, and keep him in his toes. That’s what teenage girls are for, isn’t it?
Of the parents, we don’t get as good a feel for the mother as we do for the father. The mother is given some well-rounded characterization — she is strong and loving and patient, but prone on a few occasions to give in to depression and despair. But she is not as dynamic a character as the father, who plays an important role in Alex’s life by virtue of Alex’s perception that he is distant from Alex’s life (does that make sense?). And with the father acting strange throughout the novel, I had a lot of fun trying to guess what he was really up to. I won’t spoil that for you either, but I will announce triumphantly that I guessed right.
As for the plot itself: it works much like a mystery (though it is also, obviously, a fantasy). We the readers, like the characters, are fed bits and pieces, clues that we are trying to fit together just as Alex is trying to fit them together to understand how and why Simmi is in danger. There is a shadowy bad guy and a wide variety of scenarios involved in Alex’s visions, but it remains unclear throughout the novel what is really going to happen, and why. Now, I love mysteries. And I love trying to figure out what the ending is going to be. So I loved this method of feeding us little bits of information a little at a time. I had a few guesses going into the final chapters. And I’ll tell you what: I never saw the ending coming. Part of me is annoyed with myself for missing the clues. But the larger part of me is just impressed that the author managed to surprise me. In all modesty, it doesn’t happen that often anymore.
What I Didn’t Like:
What didn’t I like? Actually… honestly, I can’t think of anything. Except maybe that I have to wait for the next installment. There are some series that I prefer to wait to read until all the books (or at least several of them) have already been released. I HATE to wait. And I’m definitely not looking forward to this wait.
Other than that… um… Nope, can’t think of anything. This book was just plain FUN. The characters are relatable, resourceful, dynamic, and likable. The plot keeps you on your toes to the end. The clues keep you actively involved. And the ending, while decently satisfying, definitely leaves you wanting more. What more can you ask for, really?
In other words: go read Farsighted. NOW.
You can also currently vote for Farsighted in the Alternative Read Best Book Cover of the Year award: just click here.
To Win the Prizes
- Purchase your copy of Farsighted for just 99 cents on Amazon or Barnes & Noble
- Fill-out the form on Novel Publicity to enter for the prizes
- Visit today’s featured event; you may win an autographed copy of the book or a $50 gift card!
- BONUS: If you leave a comment on this blog post, you have another chance at $100!
- DOUBLE BONUS: If I receive more comments than any other blogger, *I* win $100.
…And I can win too!
Over 100 bloggers are participating in this gigantic event, and there are plenty of prizes for us too. The blogger who receives the most votes in the traffic-breaker poll will win a $100 gift card as well. So when you visit Novel Publicity’s site to fill-out the contest entry form, don’t forget to say that I referred you, so I can get a point in the poll.