First Lines: Sometimes, even when you know that death is imminent, you just have to go ahead and complete your small task in the great plan, Tom though as he glided through the still, dark room. His bare feet made no sound on the smooth, hardwood floor. He felt strange sneaking around like a thief in his own house.
I was asked by the author to read and review this book. It looked like something I would read (and maybe a bit like a few books I had read), so I took her up on her offer.
Tania Westing was a fairly normal girl until her older brother Tom was murdered. Of course, she knew she was a little different from others. She is one of the Gifted Ones, people with special abilities. However, Tania’s powers were never really given the chance to show themselves. Her power, healing, is particularly rare. Tom was a genius geneticist who cracked the genetic code for the Gifted Ones, and now the people who killed Tom believe that Tania has the answers they are looking for…and they’ll go to any length to get them from her. With the help of a boy named Dan and his family that she met on Spring Break, Tania will struggle to become the girl Tom always knew she could be and protect those she has left from dangerous killers.
This book was really rich in characters. They really drove the story (not that the plot was anything to bash, either.) The characters were unique and varied. Tania has had a lot of hardships in her short life, but so have a lot of the other characters. But they don’t spend much time bemoaning their lives. I really liked Roger, who was one of Tania’s only friends. He was such a sweetheart. And the Maclean family was really neat as well. I don’t know; I just liked them all. They were well-written. Of course, there were a few that I didn’t like as well, but hey. It happens.
I didn’t realize going into this story that Lord of the Rings played such a huge part. Everything I know about LotR can be summed up in a creepy character named Gollum who says the creepy line, “My precious” and that the guy who played Dumbledore plays Gandalf. (Yes yes, I realize some of you are probably weeping at my clear lack of knowledge on this. My apologies.) Still, this was a huge part of the book and at one point, I was at a great disadvantage for not knowing anything about the series. That made it difficult to understand a very important portion of the story.
Like I said above, the plot was pretty good as well. This story is a bit of a thriller, with a lot of action and danger lurking. There are parts that drag a little as things are explained at length, but it usually picks up soon after again. There were some points that I either read too fast or weren’t very well written because I would realize twenty pages later the implications of something earlier I hadn’t understood. Eventually I got it, but I don’t know whose fault it was. Probably mine.
One thing that I didn’t really like was the hurry-up feeling I got from the love story portion. Tania and the boy went from “Hey I just met you” to “I will always love you” well before the end of the story, which covers I think about 4 months. (Do song references make up for my deficit with LotR?) Anyway, I know that this happens in books a lot, but I don’t like it. I think it sets up unrealistic expectations for girls. It the one thing about books that will consistently bother me.
Overall, though, it’s a really thrilling paranormal/sci-fi story with really great characters.