Wild-born (Book 1 in the Psionic Pentology)
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There are a lot of mysteries to the mind, but not all of them are easily observable or easy to explain. Most of the mysteries of the mind that I deal with have to do with my students and how they have gotten to be where they are. Sometimes, vaguely, I wonder if their minds are connected to what they are doing. That is about the extent of my knowledge of mental powers.
Well, that and what I’ve read about for shows like Stargate SG-1 and the X-Files and in the X-Men books.
Anyway, I saw this one available for free when I was searching the Sci-Fi section of the Kindle store. Given the price (FREE!) and the cover (nice art), I thought I would give it a try. It was different than most of the items I normally read on my kindle (and Sci-Fi in general) so, it was worth it.
The story is pretty straight forward – a tween named Adrian begins to develop peculiar psychic powers. He’s the equivalent of a blaster – his powers center around telekinesis and telekinetic damage. Naturally this is pretty awesome for Adrian until his powers attract the attention of other psionics, resulting in the death of his family and the disappearance of his sister. Adrian is introduced to several different groups of psionics running around each with their own agenda and motif. Some of the significant players aren’t even psionic themselves but represent places like the US Government. All of them are interested in any psychic development and almost all psionics are somehow affiliated with one (or more) groups.
Anyhow, through a series of events, Adrian eventually ends up with a psychic older woman and her adopted psionic daughter. For the first time Adrian has a few moments of peace and some real character building before that collapses due to him being a typical tween. Regrets follow but not before he is captured by one of the competing factions. More troubles ensue culminating in a battle with a powerful whacko.
The story is nothing particularly new and it moves along at a steady, if predictable, pace. This isn’t a horrible thing, but some shifts and differences occasionally would be nice for the reader. The many groups featured in the novel are only touched upon – something that the rest of the series is certain to flesh out – which can make it feel arbitrary to have an individual member of the cast appear and declare their affiliation to said group. Given that there are no significant differences featured in the actions of the various groups (they are mentioned when those groups are introduced but we don’t see those actions featured in any of the characters), these differentiated groups seem pointless. Given that this is a first in a series, I would not be surprised if this is fixed in later books. It would, however, have been nice to see those differences introduced a little better.
The main cast is fairly well done. Adrian makes interesting claims and follows up on those claims fairly well. He is a typical ‘Tween boy, if a bit adult minded compared to most of the twelve year olds that I have worked with. As the main character his perspective colors many of the other characters in specific ways. Sometimes these contrasts of characterization are interesting and sometimes they are merely distracting; the author doesn’t seem to have a clear idea of what way he wants to go in making these contrasts.
The psychic powers are handled well. Unfortunately, like the different psionic groups, the powers feel arbitrary and the combinations that define individuals seem to have no system or sequence to it. There is little to explain why X character has Y powers other than ‘that’s the way it is.’ I like a little more structure to my power systems and characters than that. It makes it too easy for characters to have new or undiscovered powers at plot convenient moments – something that would be easy to do given the loose nature of the powers as explained in this book. However, it is the first in a series and so the author has the rest of the books to clearly define them and I hold out hope that he does.
On the whole, the book is a good introduction that was worth reading at the free price. I’m considering picking up the next two in the series just to see how things are handled, but I have some other gifted reading to finish first. On a whole, grab it while it is free, but don’t worry to much if it takes you time to get around to reading the story.
Overall Rating: 3.2/5
Value: 5/5 (Free), 2/5 (Standard Listing)