Title: Insight [Insight 1]
Author: Jamie Magee
Genre: Fantasy, Paranormal, Romance, Young Adult
Rating: 3 Stars
Before that fateful summer night, Willow had balanced the insight of emotion, and the vivid images. That night, the figure in her nightmare marked her wrist with a star, giving her father no choice but to tell Willow a family secret that would abruptly change life, as she knew it, forever. Before Willow had time to absorb the shock of her father’s secret, her soul mate that had shared every stunning dream with her, found her, and darkness captured her closest friends. In order to save them, she must weave through broken myths and the undeniable power of the Zodiac. In the end, Willow discovers that at the moment of our birth we are all given a divine gift.
WARNING – SPOILERS MAY ENSUE BEYOND THIS POINT – REVIEW BELOW
I have to admit, going into this book, I wasn’t impressed. Insight is the story of Willow, a teenage girl who’s always felt at odds with her world. She has a few unusual abilities, is plagued with nightmares, and is drawn towards a blue-eyed boy she’s never before met. It’s very confusing for the teen. What she discovers as the story wears on, is that her family knew more about her abilities than they were letting on, and as things become more dangerous around Willow, she is whisked away into a new world. She becomes linked to an ominous foretelling of a prophecy set into motion long ago—when she was a different person and she had a choice to make. The question is: will she make the same choice this time around, or will she give up everyone and everything she loves in order to save a world she abandoned so long ago?
Now let’s get down to the nitty-gritty. This novel is in serious need of a professional editor. Words were frequently misspelled or missing, and punctuation was misplaced. The narrative lacked action and dialogue for the first half the story, and provided very little visual detail. Even the tense was constantly being switched. As a bit of a perfectionist, it was difficult to slog through. By the time I ran across the sixth instance of “so” being used, I was pretty sure this was a first draft and was already preparing myself to give this 1 star and move on to the next book.
It was difficult to fall into the story. Though I liked the premise, and even the world building, the characters didn’t feel real to me. The dialogue was stiff and awkward, what little their was, and plagued with a disuse of contractions that sometimes had me scratching my head. The characters themselves, though pleasant, lacked depth. By the end of the book I could probably name 10 different characters, but I couldn’t tell you what any of them looked like, who they were related to, or which world they belonged to.
The second half of the book, thankfully, was much better than the first. Though there was still a multitude of technical errors, the action and dialogue finally fell into place, and I was able to sink into the story a little further. I enjoyed the dynamics between Willow and Landen, and being a romantic at heart, I felt at ease with the way the couples in the book began to sink into place. I’ll admit, I did have to suspend my disbelief a little; the utopian world in which these characters find themselves (Chara), is just that: perfect. Everyone has a soul mate they are inevitably drawn to, and everyone lives in a blissful field of flowers where cars and homes are run off green energy, and war is non existent. I’m sure it’s lovely, but it is a bit boring. I can’t imagine anyone living there for a long period of time and not going a little mad.
As if the world wasn’t a little hard to believe, Willow and Landen’s relationship compounds it. They are soul mates. I get it—but the fact that they are so impossibly in-love-at-first-sight makes it a little hard to believe. There’s no awkwardness between them, and their families (despite the age of the young couple), doesn’t seem to have a problem with the two falling into a blissful union after day one. I know, I know… it’s a utopian world, but as a reader, I crave tension. It’s hard to take perfection seriously.
That aside, I actually liked the book. Yes, it has a multitude of errors, and I frequently called it’s believability into question, but the story is good. I was drawn into it (after the first half), and I was genuinely interested in seeing how the story would pan out. I liked it so much, I almost gave it 4 stars despite my initial rating.
Overall? I liked it. I’d even read it again. Would I recommend it to others? Yes, but with the caveat that everyone is aware that there are going to be a multitude of errors. I wouldn’t hand this over to any of my more technically-inclined friends. The errors will drive you bonkers, but if you’re willing to push past that, it’s still a decent story. This is one of those books that you’re either going to love for it’s premise, or hate for the way it’s written.