Friday, November 11, 2011

Review: Farsighted by Emlyn Chand

Farsighted My Rating: ☆☆☆☆☆

Goodreads Description: Alex Kosmitoras’s life has never been easy. The only other student who will talk to him is the school bully, his parents are dead-broke and insanely overprotective, and to complicate matters even more, he's blind. Just when he thinks he'll never have a shot at a normal life, a new girl from India moves into town. Simmi is smart, nice, and actually wants to be friends with Alex. Plus she smells like an Almond Joy bar. Yes, sophomore year might not be so bad after all.

Unfortunately, Alex is in store for another new arrival—an unexpected and often embarrassing ability to “see” the future. Try as he may, Alex is unable to ignore his visions, especially when they begin to suggest that Simmi is in danger. With the help of the mysterious psychic next door and new friends who come bearing gifts of their own, Alex must embark on a journey to change his future.


My Review:

Going into this book, I wasn't sure what to anticipate. Being an avid reader of the young adult paranormal genre, I thought I'd read it all. Werewolves, vampires, faeries - you name it and I've probably encountered it on my literary travels. While I think of them fondly, I’d be lying if I claimed I wasn’t curious about what is out there. A psychic seems to be a rare occurrence in the flooded YA market. After reading Farsighted, I’ve officially determined that they are unacceptably underappreciated.



Alex is a refreshingly interesting character with a refreshingly unique voice. He’s not the marble-molded epitome of perfection. Despite his admiration for the epic heroes of his acclaimed Greek heritage, he’s not inhumanly resistant, or cunning, or strong, as characters like Odysseus are often portrayed in reference. He’s a very relatable character, and just like his green glasses, he stands out in a sea of underdeveloped nothings that pretend they are more than idolized versions of the inexperienced creator or the idealized pipe dreams of hopeless romantics. He’s a tenth grade boy. His maturity, intelligence, conceptualizations, thoughts, concerns, and habits are anchored in a convincing harbor. Alex also suffers from blindness. His habits, mannerisms, and ticks are bred in that identity. He’s got many layers, both working for and against him, and it has materialized into a being. As a fifteen-year-old honors student, I was extremely impressed with how well the consistencies between what lives in those pages and what exists in a high school aligned. This is such a critical aspect in the reader’s experience, and that in that alone carries an essential piece in the overall enjoyment of the book.

Another thing that was awesome about Farsighted? You seriously feel for these characters. If being referred to as a “sapling” and “oak tree” by your mother isn’t enough reason to hate your life… try multiplying whatever level of horror you’re at by vivid green glasses and threadbare clothes, widespread social exile, monstrous bullying by an ogre of a boy and his posse, growing up blind and poor, foreseeing the death of (and failing to impress) your crush on a painfully frequent basis, and finding out you are both everything and nothing you believed you were.

And on top of all that, his boots are scuffed.

 Well… damn. Poor kid.

How the author managed to pull off making the reader feel so. incredibly. bad. for Alex without allowing the voice to wallow in self-pity is beyond me, but it’s done brilliantly. I seriously appreciate Alex’s lack of whine – gosh, I hate whining – because if anyone deserved to, he did. (I mean, he’s getting dressed in pants inches above his ankles – cause, ya’ know, teenage boys get growth spurts and all – and all I can think about is the outfits from Maroon 5’s “Misery” music video…) He stated how he felt, clarified, and moved on, which acted as a phenomenal strategy with the pacing. I’ve failed to update the Goodreads status, but I flew through this book in a couple of hours. It slipped by, somehow managing to be frictionless, suspenseful and tense simultaneously.

This is definitely considered a “thriller” too, as far as I’m concerned. You’re definitely going to be wondering, for lack of better terminology, WTH is going on? He’s having these sightless visions about his (girl-)friend Simmi being grotesquely murdered, his dad is being a crazy-insane WEIRD-O (I assure you, all caps necessary and intended), his mother is a wreck a third of the time, and his other friend (who he sometimes hates, sometimes doesn’t – whatever, they’re cool now and it’s complicated, which fascinates and amuses me to no end) can’t admit or confront her “gifts”. I think anyone with functioning waves in their cauliflower-of-a-brain would be at least cocking an eyebrow, if not completely tipping towards the floor on the edge of their seat, immersed in a disturbingly engrossed infatuation.

I think this is going to be really great for middle-grade readers transitioning into the YA genre. Aside from a word or two and a few stolen smackeroonies, this is exceptionally clean. It is something people of all ages can appeal to, though. There are traces of darker elements, of course. His newfound ability is not salvation or damnation, blessing or curse – it makes him a target, and it’s the only thing keeping him – and his loved ones – alive. I can’t imagine how one would cope with that. Even relying on sleeping pills and Monster (which, by the way, ick – that requires an endurance beyond what I can fathom or stomach), Alex seemed to end up okay – but between Brady and Dax, something tells me his nose won’t be starring in any fashion mags anytime soon.

On a side-tracked note, there is definitely a feeling of research lingering behind the text. The sense of security in the accuracy so consistent in the story is very present in everything from the equipment for Alex’s blindness (description of Braille materials, for example) to the Indian culture of Simmi to the name dropping of texts read in the tenth grade. Reading this, I was not sure whether Alex reminded me of Daredevil or Tiresias (the blind prophet in the Odyssey) until Alex literally mentioned the latter and took into consideration the details of the runes (one of the most unique chapter headings I’ve seen, yet).

The only thing I disliked about this book is that, being so invested and compelled through the story, I cannot help but hope a villain, painted so viciously, is a gut-wrenchingly awful beast that falls with a climatic and earth-shattering kerr-plunkity-thump. I’m probably just a morbid jerk, but I personally wanted to hate ‘em.

But, but, but! I am absolutely sure that being a first of many novels in a series, there has been a lot of explaining, world building, and exposition that an early reader cannot separate and identify just yet. I’ve heard that the upcoming books actually experiment with other perspectives, as well. As much as one adores Alex, there were a few times that I felt a story longed in other characters, so I’m very excited about that. Overall, I intend to follow the series.

For those of you that find this important with indie authors: I only noticed one flaw in the entire book – the editing is both extremely professional nearly impeccable. For readers that honestly prefer traditionally published works, this will definitely appeal to that audience, on that level, anyway. (:

I recommend Farsighted for readers of Evermore by Alyson Noel, Weaver by John Abramowitz, Suck It Up by Brian Meehl, and Crave by Laura J. Burns and Melinda Metz.


Where To Find Emlyn Chand:


    
Where to Find Farsighted:
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!
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2 comments:

Emlyn Chand said...

Miranda, this review is incredible! You actually had me laughing out loud when I got to the part about Alex's scuffed boots, and I never NEVER LOL. Oops :-P

Thank you for such a thorough and earnest review with incredible attention to detail. I'm just blown away! THANK YOU!

Miranda said...

Thank you!! :)

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