Book Review-Farsighted by Emlyn Chand


A parable exists in the writing world that goes as follows, "Show, don't tell."

When I first learned of the underlying concept of "Farsighted", I had to admit that I was more than marginally intrigued. I approach reading through a writers eyes, and quite often make my reading choices based on an interest in how the writer might choose to bring their particular plot line to life. In essence, I read in order to learn ways to become a better writer.

That brings me back to the above bit of writing wisdom and the dilemma that it presents in this instance-How do you show anything from the first person perspective of a blind teenager?

This is the part that caught my attention, because I honestly couldn't see how it would work-but it does.
Emlyn replaces the typical imagery of a paranormal novel with a heightened sense of feel and touch, one that made me wish I had a paperback copy to read instead of the more efficient but much less tactile ereader.

I wanted to feel the dry, rough texture of the page. I wanted to smell the fine wood dust emanating from the constantly turning pages. In a sense this book made me want to see the world, if not through Alex's eyes, through his other four (actually, five ;-) senses. I realized halfway through this novel that the choice of protagonist was a stroke of genius. 

What better way to get your reader to identify with a character's emotions than to eliminate all the visual chaff? To put it another way-the less on the page, the more important what is there becomes. If you aren't constantly oohing and aahing at the descriptions of flashing lights and sparkles, what you are left with is comprises a much more nuanced view of the world. 

I could continue to draw parallels all day long, but I feel I've made my point. The way things feel, they smell, they sound, are all more intimate means to discover a characters inner workings than the appearances of the people that surround them.

Another byproduct-it makes you pay attention.

So when you meet Simmi, you first learn of how she smells like an Almond Joy candy bar, then of the kindness in her voice. I have no idea if I would find Simmi attractive or not, but it's what I don't see that makes her beautiful. As I found myself drawn into looking deeper into the information available, I suspect that Shapri is more physically attractive, simply based on the self confidence that she feels justified in displaying to the outside world. Of course, the most physically attractive of us tend to be deficient in other areas, and Shapri's shortcomings are that she has a hard shell that she rarely lowers out of fear of emotional hardship. 

It is yet another compelling argument deftly posed by the author. If you are seek companionship (a girlfriend in this instance), but cannot see how they look, you are forced to find more important parts of them to love.

Alex's developing love for Simmi drives the plot for a while, but there are hints that something more complex and nefarious is happening outside the range of Alex's ability to comprehend. He awkwardly fumbles his interactions with Simmi (as adolescent boys often do), all the while enduring the mockery of the school bully and psychic visions.

Without the visual cues to differentiate when these visions begin, Alex must slowly learn to recognize more subtle hints, such as changes in temperature and humidity levels. The content of these visions is often unsettling, but over time he senses a pattern in them. Someone is going to kill the girl he loves. 

He doesn't know this person, but this "Dax" is obviously an angry, troubled young man with a powerful talent or two of his own.

Alex must use his new found ability to find a way to save Simmi before their paths cross Dax's. 

In the end, I found reading Farsighted to be an enlightening experience. Aside from his psychic "second" sight, Alex's powers of observance are available to us all, we simply choose to "judge books by their covers" (pun intended). If you slow down, and look at the abundant information around us, we can often make more appropriate decisions. 

Of the few things that I found distracting in this book, only one is truly an issue. At the beginning of each chapter, a short "prophecy" is given to prelude the events to come. I found that these gave too much away, and by the second or third chapter began to skip them (as Emlyn presented as an option in the beginning of the book). 

I can't say that everyone will find them as distracting as I did, but as I read I am constantly running through different tropes in my head, already trying to see the future like Alex. When I guess wrong at a way that a story will go is a surprising (and fun) twist, one that I felt like the prophecies at the beginning of each chapter denied me. 

If you read as analytically as I do, I suggest skipping the prophecies and simply reading the book normally. It is a great story, and I won't run the risk of ruining it here in this blog by telling you how it all works out because I feel discovery is much of the fun.

The other detraction wasn't a problem with the novel at all, it was simply that I can see so many possibilities for the world she has created, ways that it can grow and become richer that I didn't want the novel to end. Perhaps that was how I felt the ending to be a little abrupt, because at the time I read the book I was unaware that the novel is in fact the first in a new series. I see no shortage of compelling material for Emlyn to draw from in her series, which should make for many more entertaining reads in the years to come.

With that knowledge, the quickness with which all loose ends are tied up and hurt feelings forgiven are more understandable. I do feel that with another page or two of discussion before the final decision is made (the one that Alex has a hard time stomaching), would let you accept it more easily as a reader. It has a, "This is how it is going to be, so deal with it" quality that I found a little incongruous. 

With that being said, I enjoyed this novel much more than I initially thought I would. I was skeptical that it would work well, the whole "First Person/Blind Person" perspective, but Emlyn pulls it off while simultaneously making the concept approachable to her Young Adult audience. For a first novel she has definitely done what she set out to do, which is establish herself as a unique voice in a crowded Young Adult Paranormal scene-not an easy task.

I look forward to checking out the next installment in the "Farsighted" series.



(This review is based on an Advanced Review Copy of Farsighted, and was written on 10/15/2011)

-If you have written a novel that you would like to submit for Review consideration, please forward a copy in .pdf format to maetrixss@gmail.com.


Blog Tour Notes


THE BOOK:  Alex Kosmitoras may be blind, but he can still “see” things others can’t.  When his unwanted visions of the future begin to suggest that the girl he likes could be in danger, he has no choice but to take on destiny and demand it reconsider. Get your copy today by visiting Amazon.com’s Kindle store or the eBook retailer of your choice. The paperback edition will be available on November 24 (for the author’s birthday).

THE CASH PRIZES:  Guess what? You could win a $100 Amazon gift card as part of this special blog tour. That’s right! Just leave a comment below saying something about the post you just read, and you’ll be entered into the raffle. I could win $100 too! Please help by voting for my blog in the traffic-breaker poll. To cast your vote, visit the official Farsighted blog tour page and scroll all the way to the bottom. Thank you for your help with that.

THE GIVEAWAYS:  Win 1 of 10 autographed copies of Farsighted before its paperback release by entering the giveaway on GoodReads. Perhaps you’d like an autographed postcard from the author; you can request one on her site.

THE AUTHOR:  Emlyn Chand has always loved to hear and tell stories, having emerged from the womb with a fountain pen grasped firmly in her left hand (true story). When she’s not writing, she runs a large book club in Ann Arbor and is the president of author PR firm, Novel Publicity. Emlyn loves to connect with readers and is available throughout the social media interweb. Visit www.emlynchand.com for more info. Don’t forget to say “hi” to her sun conure Ducky!

MORE FUN: There's more fun below. Watch the live action Farsighted book trailer and take the quiz to find out which character is most like you!




Post : Chris Godsoe ~

Post:Book Review-Farsighted by Emlyn Chand by: Chris Godsoe was published Monday, November 7, 2011. Thank you for your visit, please comment. There are 2 comments on this post. Book Review-Farsighted by Emlyn Chand
 

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