This interesting and particularly eloquent book throws you a huge curveball, not once but three times. By the title alone, I was expecting a young-adult sci-fi fantasy. By three-quarters of the way through, however, this assumption had changed, as Seeker of the Secret then seemed to have taken a more spiritual turn, toward a troubled soul’s journey toward self-enlightenment, following tragedy in her life. But then, in the final quarter, the book swerved off into an entirely different direction, suddenly resembling more the fantastical formula tale I was originally expecting. The third and final curveball is by far the most problematic for me, though: the dreaded unresolved, open end – be warned that this book will not answer the questions it plants in the reader’s mind from very early on, so you may feel somewhat alienated by it after reading.
I’ve described it as “interesting” and indeed it was, though I have to admit that because of these fundamental changes in direction, it is a difficult book to categorize; it seems to hop genres on two occasions, and doesn’t really appear to set up the sci-fi aspect in any way prior; therefore, when the story starts to properly unfold, late in the book, it is something of a jaw-dropper. Don’t get me wrong, I like that; I do indeed like books which change direction, though if I were being totally honest I have had a good fill of Y.A. sci-fi fantasy in recent years, so I personally much preferred this when I thought it was following in earnest the spiritual odyssey its protagonist Mirage takes. Rather, I came to realize that this book is something more akin to an origin story, and the lead character’s pilgrimage can be perhaps considered rather more in the context of Bruce Wayne’s training with the League of Shadows. It is fair to say that this book will absolutely require you to read its inevitable sequel, and there may be little point if that is not your intention.
I like Rohini’s writing style. She is beautifully articulate, straightforward in style and genuinely pleasing to read. I feel perhaps her chapters could have done with being a little shorter, and scene breaks used more comprehensively to pace the narrative, which does hurtle along the timeline on occasions which may feel inconsistent compared to others, but her descriptive ability is to the highest quality; you can almost see the perfect pronunciation in her prose, as if this were an audiobook being read by the most softly-spoken, eloquent narrator. I found her characters to be perhaps a touch neurotic at times, particularly Mirage who, I’m sorry to say I didn’t really endear toward I think the way the author intended; indeed, I found this character somewhat disagreeable and even a little dislikeable and narcissistic at times. I suspect I can foresee an arc involving her twin brother Jay, who, whilst also a little petulant, was a potentially quite interesting character – although, it has to be said that both he and Mirage’s mother did at times behave in a manner quite intrusive of her privacy, demanding in ways I felt they had no real right to.
Generally, this is an offbeat, off-formula offering in the genre, which itself seems to adapt and evolve on a continual basis. I would be interested to see the arc this story takes, but I also suspect it will be a long and frustrating time until answering the many questions this book sets out – so I suggest being prepared for the long haul in a series.
In : Book Reviews
Tags: rohini-sharma-bhambi young-adult sci-fi fantasy spiritual fiction