Monday, April 22, 2013
Foreseen by Terri-Lynne Smiles-- a review
Author: Terri-Lynne Smiles
Word Count/Pages: 403
Format: soft cover, mobi, ePub
Total Rating: 4.6
In Foreseen, debut author Terri-Lynne Smiles creates a believable world filled with sparkling characters that work their way into your heart and leave you thinking about them long after the final page is turned.
The idea behind Foreseen is quite clever and lifts the story above most others that are currently available in this genre: living among us are people with the ability to 'see' into the future and who can use that ability to read minds and influence decisions in a limited sense. These people refer to themselves as adepts. They've been around forever, have secret institutes, are bent on world domination, etc., etc., etc... Yeah, yeah, already seen that one. Except Ms. Smiles separates herself from the paranormal pack by linking these powers to actual science. I had feared the plot would get bogged down in the science but again, she does a scintillating job of using the science without trying to explain anything, a challenging tightrope from which most authors plummet shrieking to the ground. Smiles, to her credit, walks this tightrope adeptly, if I can use that word, while doing backflips and holding a chair with a tea pot balanced on a pool cue.
The main character is an awkward, though highly-intelligent, college freshman named Kinzie. While I'm not female, I do remember my freshman year and Kinzie's hangups check all the boxes without pandering. Her foil is a guy named Greg who is good looking and popular and, amazingly, a physics major. This might be part of why I like this story so much because I was a good looking, popular, physics major in college. Well, at least the third one is true. At any rate, the conflicts between them are both powerful and believable unlike much of the artificial conflict we find on pages these days. Together Greg and Kinzie get caught up in a web of intrigue centered on The Rothston Institute, the secret organization of adepts in America. It is here that Smiles also hits a home run by creating likable villains and heroes, along with a secret society of self-proclaimed do-gooders that do about as much good as congress - in every sense of the metaphor.
While the pacing of the story is a bit slow out of the gate, it picks up and builds along the way resulting in a thrilling ending. Again, this is my kind of story. I prefer stories that build and reach a climax that is actually linked to the events in the story so I've given the plot a 5. There are no holes, a biggie for me, and she does a great job setting up a sequel while at the same time providing a satisfying ending.
All of Smiles' characters are excellent as is her dialog. I really think this is her strength and see a successful career ahead of her as a writer since Character is King (and Queen) in the modern writing paradigm. 5 for characters.
If the story has any weaknesses, setting is one of them, but that is just personal preference. I tend to like stories set in odd places, which are also the stories I like to write. Again, personal preference, but she does a good job with the setting she chooses to use. 4 on setting.
While this seems like a book that should be from a major publisher, it is, in fact, an indie publication and the editing is not as thorough. At least, the copy editing. The editing is excellent in that the story flows very well, but there are some typos here and there. Certainly not a reason to overlook this one. 4 on execution.
Being a guy I'm not a fan of covers with scantily clad guys on them. This cover is well thought out and features a surprise that ties in with the themes of the story. I'm not going to tell you what it is, only to say that it is hidden in plain sight. Whether or not it is a cover that will sell books based solely on the cover I don't know, but I personally like it. 5 on the cover.
If you're looking for a smart read with strong characters and meaningful themes that are presented well but do not beat you over the head, you should definitely give Foreseen a look. While the characters make it primarily a book for females, I liked it a lot and usually don't care for this genre. While it fits snugly into the New Adult category, it is suitable for late middle school kids as well.