Cards on table time (I hope I don’t live to regret this!): when Emlyn sent out an email asking for reviewers for her upcoming title, Farsighted, I felt quite conflicted. Emlyn has a BIG heart and I really wanted to review her book. But psychics? Paranormal? Let’s just say, that’s not my bag when it comes to books (even though I love tarot cards, runes etc! Go figure…). Emlyn’s a reasonable person, though, and I knew as long as I gave it an honest and fair shot, she’d appreciate my feedback even if it proved not to be my thing. So I agreed. After all, if it wasn’t for me, I wouldn’t submit a review. I don’t believe in critiquing things that aren’t my cup of tea.
Then the book arrived and I began to read it and, well, I can only describe it as a class act.
As a lead character Alex is both immensely likeable and frustratingly irritating at the same time and that’s the kind of conflict I love. He doesn’t discover psychic powers and immediately begin abusing them or trying to act like a superhero: instead, the conflict of his character extends very much to his conflict of feelings about his abilities. Can he use them? Should he use them? Should he trust them?
Alex struggles with terrible and horrifying visions of the future and the frightening certainty that his good friend Simmi is in incredible danger. There’s a heavy burden on his shoulders and at one point he aptly quotes the Spiderman line: “With great power comes great responsibility”. However, the book also depicts Alex’s struggle with many more mundane things – but things that can, nonetheless, make a teenager’s life awful: bullying, girl trouble, parental problems.
There are little touches in Farsighted that make the book stand out. Chand begins every chapter with a rune and states at the beginning of the book:
“You are about to embark on a journey along with the characters in this novel. At the beginning of each chapter, you’ll find a rune and a corresponding prophecy. Put your powers of divination to the test by trying to predict what each chapter holds based on the hints provided. Or you may choose to ignore the runic prophecies altogether and dive right into the story. Either way, happy travels.”
These little hints at the beginning of each chapter are about as mystical and other-worldly as the book gets and that’s no bad thing. Farsighted stays very much in the real world with real people who happen to have unusual skills. It offers a fantastic opportunity to get to know the characters who will – hopefully – become a regular feature in future novels. Perhaps more mystery and other worldliness will follow but it’s refreshing to have a book that actually allows wonderful events to occur against a mundane backdrop.
It seems there’s a lesson for all book lovers to learn here: we all have our preferences and our ‘must read’ and ‘must avoid’ genres but every once in a while it’s worth taking a chance on something new. You never know when you’ll find a five star read and you’ll be hanging on your eReader waiting anxiously to download the next book in the series… It seems, as Emlyn Chand prophesied, Psychics Are In.