Farsighted [Farsighted #1]
by Emlyn Chand
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, an enticing new girl comes to their small Midwest town all the way from India. Simmi is smart, nice, and actually wants to be friends with Alex. Plus she smells like an Almond Joy bar. 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 suggest Simmi is in mortal danger. With the help of the mysterious psychic next door and friends who come bearing gifts of their own, Alex embarks on his journey to change the future.
I was really intrigued by Farsighted, as this is the first book I have come across which is written from a blind guy’s perspective. I think the author has done a commendable job in writing this book in first-person, which is no small task. She has been careful to give us all the information of Alex’s surroundings through senses other than sight. So, we get to know how things feel or how they sound or smell. Also, the fact that he can ‘see’ into the future was really interesting.
The book revolves around a group of teenagers with special abilities like being able look into the future, affect people’s feelings by a mere touch, read people’s minds and being able to communicate with the dead. This idea is not really new. When I first started reading the story, the first thing that came to my mind was the American TV program Heroes. I am hoping that as the series progresses, we get something much better than that!
The one thing that rankled me a bit about the book was that there is no one character that I really like, and whom I can cheer for. Each character in the book has some major flaws. But, now that I think of it, they also seem much more human to me because of that. Even though they each have some superhuman ability, it does not make them good enough that they become perfect or invincible. These flaws make the story much more real and believable, but it also makes me dislike most of the characters.
Alex, who is the main character in the book, has been blind since a very young age. He has adapted wonderfully to this but he is also portrayed as being angry at the world, and also does not have any friends. So when Simmi, a student from India befriends him, he is ecstatic. I found Simmi to be a bit annoying, without a backbone, and really manipulative. She has the power to affect people’s feelings, and she uses this power without fail whenever a conflict arises. This really irritated me, and I could not really guess whether Alex’s feelings towards her were real or not. The third character, Shapri was the only character I actually liked in the entire book. She is strong willed and does not take shit from anyone. She will always stand up for herself and her friends. However, the way Alex treats her throughout the book really annoyed me. Also, I did not really understand why both the girls kept coming back to him, even though they were mistreated like this. Was it out of sympathy? I have no idea.
Personally, I found that the story was just too slow in developing in the first half of the book. Too much time was spent on Alex’s relationships and feelings as well as his training, and too little on actually creating the suspense of the book, or giving us clues to the mystery. In the end, I felt that the mystery which was built up to such an extent gets solved way too easily.
However, I loved the last few chapters and the fight between the good and bad guys. Each person’s abilities are used, and the final standoff, was beautifully orchestrated. The twist in the end was simply brilliant. This was the one thing I did not see coming. The way things turned out, I now don’t really know what to think of the bad guy. I can’t give him my sympathies for what he does, but I still understand his perspective of why he did those things. As I said, the book has some brilliantly flawed characters.
The book provided me with a lot to think about, and that is something I always love. The idea that things are not always what they seem, gave me pause after I had finished reading the book. It also left me with a number of questions which I need to think about. Which side of the Destiny vs. Free Will debate do I stand? What would I do if I had superpowers, would I use them for good or for evil? Which superpower would I want? What would I do if I could change people’s feelings about me?
I was going to give this book three stars, but as I started writing my review, I realized I was being too hard on the book. This is the first book in a series which is going to have atleast five books. While I am writing the review, I am beginning to realize that the author really needed to spend some time developing the characters and on their training. These are young adults who have just begun to realize that they have superhuman capabilities. Also, I think the way in which each character is portrayed as a real person having strengths and weaknesses does add a whole new dimension to the story. But, I still feel that the author needed to develop the mystery a bit better.
I really can see the potential of this series, and I believe that it can develop into something amazing. The author has struck a really good formula and I can’t wait to see what happens next. I am really looking forward to reading the stories of the other characters. The only complaint I have is that I will have to wait for a really long time for the series to complete.