When I was little, I believed in stories about bending spoons and mind readers. Precognition was a normal phenomenon that just seemed to be limited to a handful of my dreams. Nana talked to plants and to dead people, and Mama took me for a psychic reading once. Teachers informed me that the human brain is barely used, and so I developed this conception that if I could learn to use it a little bit more, one of these psychic abilities could become mine to master!
What would it be? I used to try to move objects with my mind, certain that if I started small enough… well, I was sure I lifted the corner of a tissue once. How exciting would it be if there was a place I could go where my psychokinetic tissue-moving skills could be harnessed, trained, and enhanced the way I might enhance my knowledge, my memory, or my imagination? Edaion is that place, and Blind Sight is the story that takes you there through the eyes of two very different people whose lives are brought together by the mysterious behavior of one blind girl.
Co-authors Eliabeth Hawthorne and Ermisenda Alvarez invite us to Edaion through two different stories that come together as one, in a place I imagine might be in the middle of the Bermuda Triangle somewhere, obscured from rest of the world by weather and inexplicable magnetic disturbances. Edaion is where magic unleashes the natural powers of the mind. She’s an island immigrants can’t leave, tourists can’t remember, and she’s the only world her natives ever know.
No story is complete until you’ve heard it told by all its witnesses. Blind Sight is a unique and, in my opinion, brave attempt to truly offer us a story from two different perspectives. I’ve been really looking forward to seeing how well it worked, so you can imagine my excitement when I was asked if I’d do this review. I wasn’t disappointed. The two books have enough in common that I never felt lost, and enough differences that I felt like I read two separate stories. Together, they succeed in opening our eyes to a bigger story than either could tell by itself.
I couldn’t get past the prologue without being tearily reminded of my own childhood memories, and so I was quickly enraptured. This part of Edaion’s story is told from the point of view of a princess, native to this mysterious island.
Seventeen-year-old Aniela Dawson is the youngest member of Edaion’s royal family. She is expected to develop the telekinetic powers she inherited from her mother. She did not expect that her sister Tatiana’s birthright would be stripped by their mother and given to her, fueling a bitter sibling rivalry.
Like any young adult, Aniela feels the need to emerge from her mother’s stifling control that created this rift in her family. When she discovers that her friend Odette Reyes, a blind immigrant from Spain, draws pictures from a trance, she sees it as an opportunity. She sets out to find the answers behind this mysterious gift, and in the process to find herself.
Aniela is charming and innocent. She offers a sheltered view of Edaion with a glimpse into the noble class and her family. The characters are enjoyable and the relationships are believable. Reading is smooth, with a but that I’ll get to, the story is the right length, with another but, and I was kept guessing about enough to make it more than just Aniela’s personal story.
I enjoyed being taken into Aniela’s world. Eliabeth Hawthorne did a good job of making me feel the part of a young princess who just wants to be a girl. I noticed particularly how Aniela’s behavior and speech changed when she was around her friends instead of her family. Aniela takes her native island for granted, and so for the reader, Edaion becomes only gradually less mysterious as the unfolding adventure sheds more light.
I felt like I was part of the story. I was suffocated by Aniela’s mother and shared the princess’ need to escape. Odette was my favorite character, with the last of my buts, and I found myself imagining I was her in conversations. The mystery and adventure were engaging and built up nicely as the story went on.
I read this book after finishing Aniela Dawson so I was already hooked. It kept me surprised and captivated, and nicely explained all the questions I had. This part of Edaion’s story is told from the point of view of a reluctant immigrant to this mysterious island, who believes he has somehow been kidnapped.
Twenty-year-old Leocardo Reyes finds himself thrust into a life where mystical powers have become reality. He and his blind sister Odette appear on Edaion after she inexplicably draws a picture with no memory of what she did. He finds himself distrustful and wary, suspecting there is foul-play involved in their arrival.
Leocardo’s first instinct is to protect his handicapped sister. His attempts to escape and return home to Spain are futile. He is forced to abandon them when winter makes travel impossible, and turn his attention instead to understanding the meaning behind his sister’s strange gift, while discovering and developing his own.
Leocardo is brooding and frustrated and his emotions come off well. His tale is set within Edaion’s working class. It has the same enjoyable and believable characters Aniela Dawson introduced us to, adding further color and at times surprising depth. I enjoyed the same smooth reading in a style that was similar, but not identical.
I loved meeting the different sides of Leocardo’s and Odette’s personalities. Ermisenda Alvarez incorporates some Spanish into the story’s dialogue that adds a nice cultural flavor. I had a lot of fun learning the parts of Odette’s story that only her brother could tell, and reading Leocardo’s different view of the events that he and Aniela shared together.
This was an entirely different story made better by the familiarity with the characters and the anticipation of events. The drama surrounding the Reyes’ appearance in Edaion and the deeper look into the less sheltered aspects of the society there reveal a darkness that Aniela just doesn’t see. Of course the drama impact of the adventure is less when you already know what will happen, but the ending is surprisingly different.
Blind Sight was a fun and entertaining story, suitable for both the young and the young at heart. I enjoyed it from the front cover of Aniela to the back cover of Leocardo. Reading the second book while the first was still fresh in my memory felt to me like the key to both stories. I don’t know that I would have wanted to read one without the other, and it felt like I read them in the right order, so I would recommend that.
The Buts (with a tiny spoiler):
I was totally in love with Odette’s character and I simply missed her. The story line unfortunately swept her under the rug a little bit. There was plenty about her, but not enough of her.
There are little placeholders in each book for the other one. At first, it was annoying. I realized after a few of them why it was going to be necessary, so I got used to it. It’s hard to say how I would have handled the same challenge.
Both books do one thing that put me off. Each story wraps up nicely and then the final chapter is told from a point of view that is not through the eyes of the character for that book. This was to offer a sneak peek into the next books, which I don’t mind, but the sudden shift to another point of view felt very out of place to me.
What did I love?
I love Edaion. She isn’t just an island; she’s an enigma, a powerful and mysterious force reaching out into the world to find the missing pieces to her puzzle.
I love the main characters, but especially Odette. The saucy, moody blind, girl, attending high school with kids who can all see, holds my heart.
Most of all, I feel like I’ve read something different! Once I had finished the first book and started the second, it was obvious how these two authors complement each others’ styles. The further I read into the second book, the more impressed I was with how much care and effort they put into their collaboration. I’ve never read anything like it before.
I’ve called these books a “novel duet” because they work in harmony to tell one story and you won’t get the experience that is Blind Sight without reading them both.
Overall rating: ★★★★☆
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Learn more about Blind Sight: A blind girl drawing is abnormal even on the magical island of Edaion where leaves brush themselves into piles in the middle of the night. So when Odette Reyes, a girl blind from birth, begins to experience ominous side effects of the island’s “gift,” her brother Leocardo and best friend Aniela must figure out what the doctors cannot. As an immigrant, Leocardo is not biased by accepted rules of magic and determines that Odette’s drawings are premonitions. Aniela grew up with magic and knows premonitions are impossible. She determines Odette is a medium channeling voiceless spirits.
Who is right? Whose eyes will you read through?
Both books are “volume one” you can read one without the other and still get a complete story, but you won’t see how the characters interpret the same situation differently.
Buy the book! Both volumes are available as an e-book for Kindle (Aniela’s vol. / Leocardo’s vol.) and Nook (Aniela’s vol. / Leocardo’s vol.) Don’t have an e-reader, pick up a PDF on Smashwords (Aniela’s vol. / Leocardo’s vol.)
The paperback special edition will be available in the fall (northern hemisphere).
Eliabeth wrote her first mini-series in second grade when the teacher told her she was not old enough to write a chapter book. Regrettably, for fear of turning into a starving artist, Eliabeth played it safe in college and is now a recent William Jewell graduate with a BA in International Business and Japanese. She now returns to what she truly loves, creating worlds for people to escape to and characters for them to fall in love with. Ermisenda began writing Harry Potter fan-fiction at the age of twelve and started developing her own writing at fourteen when she joined play sites and completed her first crime novel at fifteen. Although her favorite genres were crime and fantasy, she reads a bit of everything. Driven by the desire to evoke the kaleidoscope of emotions her favorite authors are able to, she kept writing. Growing up bilingual amongst her Spanish family in Australia, she found a love and deep appreciation for language and the power it wielded. She is now a Psychology major at the University of Newcastle. Together, they write as Ermilia.
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