A review by CJ Dee
Caitlin O’Hara is a world renowned child psychologist. Her latest patient, Maanik, is the daughter of a diplomat who is negotiating potentially nuclear tension between India and Pakistan. When her father survives an assassination attempt outside her school, Maanik begins to exhibit strange and dangerous behaviour the likes of which Caitlin has never before seen. Caitlin must travel the world to find a cure for Maanik’s behaviour, but will travelling the world as we know it be enough?
A Vision of Fire is the first book in the Earthend Saga series.
Like most nerds, I enjoy The X-Files so, when A Vision of Fire arrived with Gillian Anderson’s name on it, my not-so-inner fangirl was delighted. My less obvious cynic had concerns. Both were well justified.
At its core A Vision of Fire has a great plot. It is a thriller about a psychologist who has to question what she knows to save her patient from the unknown. The characters are well-developed yet their backstories don’t take up too much time.
The primary issue I had with A Vision of Fire is that it is wordy. Bear with me, I know it is a book so it will have words and I’m not averse to the concept — I’ve read the uncut version of The Stand twice. By wordy, I mean there are a lot of adverbs and often unimportant minutiae is described in great detail. There is a lot of telling rather than showing. Frustration at these points made A Vision of Fire take a lot longer to read than it should have done.
There is a subplot of sorts taking place at the time of these events regarding the discovery and investigation of artefacts by a group entirely removed from the main plot. While I understand this will likely be explored further in future books, it felt disjointed and awkward alongside the main plot for most of the novel. The final chapter helped to clear things up, but the damage was done.
Despite the issues I felt were present, I liked the main plot and especially the character Caitlin O’Hara. It is not often that writers can write a strong female character without the character seeming like she’s just a big ole bitch. Anderson and Rovin have managed to form a strong female protagonist who still manages to be kind, funny and smart. Big kudos.
There were no characters that should have been dislikable in A Vision of Fire and this has been well written. Often novels without a real antagonist can seem weak and without purpose, but I can’t say enough just how well written I felt the characters were in this novel.
Despite the aforementioned weak points, A Vision of Fire’s main plot and character development were enough to keep me reading (albeit slower than I usually like), so I would recommend giving it a go if it sounds like something you would enjoy. If you’re looking to step outside your comfort zone and try something new though, give this one a miss.
Rating: 3 1/2 out of 5 stars
Page count: 292
Format: Paperback, 292 pages
Publisher: Simon & Schuster