Monday, October 31, 2011
Insight by Terron James
Rumors are surging through Appernysia that a Beholder has been born, the first wielder of True Sight in over a millennium.
Seventeen-year-old Lon Marcs discovers he has been blessed—or cursed—with this gift. He cannot control the power of True Sight and feels it killing him with each passing day. After months of desperate attempts to survive, Lon’s situation becomes more hopeless. He realizes that the only people who might possess the knowledge to save his life are the sworn enemies of his king. To obtain their help, Lon would have to leave behind his family and beloved Kaylen.
Although this is the hardest decision Lon has ever made, it is only the first of many that will test his strength and challenge his interpretation of right and wrong.
James successfully creates believable characters that live in a world they do not fully understand. As the plot progresses, the three main characters are each immersed in situations that test them and require them to grow--the key element in a Young Adult novel. Effectively using cause and effect, James forces his characters to become adults in a world they come to understand. However, being that Insight is the first in a new series, they do not fully reach that potential in this book.
To me--and I'm basing my opinion on the genres I normally read--Insight does not read like other YA novels. Almost every instance of dialogue is written in complete sentences, not the way people, and teens especially, talk at all. This is cumbersome to read at times and seldom rings true, making me distrustful somehow of most of the characters. Lon's father's habit of calling him "Son" is so patronizing (moreso because I think it is intended to be a sign of caring) I almost couldn't overlook it to enjoy the story, which is well thought-out and executed. While the descriptions of the setting are delightfully detailed, the meat of the story sometimes gets lost in their complexity. And while the descriptions of each character's feelings and motives are sufficient, they would be more powerful if they were shown in the character's actions more than told in the narration.
As you know, my favorite novels always involve romance, and this one has it--sort of. Lon's reasons for leaving home are based on his love for Kaylen, which sounds romantic, but they actually have very little interaction and not enough to solidify their feelings for each other. At first I thought it wasn't enough to base his actions on, but while Lon's feelings for Kaelyn are weak, they are more complex than I originally thought because they are rooted in his desire to fulfill an ideal which his parents have created and in his competitive satisfaction at having won against Braedr in securing Kaylen's affection. But even that is a really easy choice for Kaylen because Braedr is a jerk, reinforcing the idea that Lon's love is not enough to justify his actions, but those more complex and subtle issues are. So, I think there is a lot more going on in this storyline than the average YA would pick up on, but the story works either way.
I give Insight 3 of 5 stars based on my own enjoyment of it, but I recommend it to all Fantasy readers, young and old, and expect that anyone more interested in and knowledgable about the Fantasy genre than I am would easily give it 4 or 5 stars.
I received a copy of Insight from the author in exchange for my completely honest review. If you would like a copy of Insight, check out the author's website Here.