Book Review: Farsighted by Emlyn Chand

A blind teenaged outcast begins having visions of his high school crush being murdered by a similarly gifted psychopath and sets out to prevent this from actually happening. But in doing so, he discovers that a much bigger fate may very well await him.

That’s the gist of Farsighted, a YA fantasy written by Novel Publicity founder Emlyn Chand. Yes, yes, once again I delved into the fantasy genre, something I normally do not do, as I mentioned in my review of L.R. Giles’ urban contemporary fantasy The Darkness Kept. Yet Farsighted shares the similar sensibilities with Giles’ novel in that it embraces its fantasy elements while keeping one foot firmly rooted in a recognizable reality. It was enough to pique my interest.

Alex Kosmitoras is our protagonist, a blind high school student dreading the start of his sophomore year. Things are bad enough at home—Alex’s unemployed father is distant and cold, leaving his mother to shoulder the burden of supporting the family with the meager income she makes from her florist shop. But at school, life is hell. The one-two punch of being blind and poor renders Alex a social misfit and frequent target of bully Brady and his band of cronies. Things begin looking up, however, with the arrival of a new student, a beautiful girl named Simmi, whose family moved to Alex’s podunk Midwest town from India.

There are other newcomers as well, namely Miss Teak, a psychic who’s set up shop in the empty property next to Mrs. Kosmitoras’s store, and her daughter, the abrasive Shapri. They’ve moved from New Orleans, displaced victims of the disastrous Hurricane Katrina.

Around this time, all sorts of strange things begin happening to Alex. He starts to have visions of someone called Dax, a teenager with telekinetic abilities and psychotic tendencies. Each vision of Dax is increasingly disturbing and violent, finally culminating with the terrifying death of Simmi, of whom Alex has grown quite fond.

Convinced he is the only one who can save Simmi, Alex decides to embrace his newfound powers of prescience so he can find and take down Dax.

Farsighted was, for me, an unusual read because it was told from the point of view of a character who literally cannot see. I’m sure this would have presented quite the challenge for another author, but Chand uses Alex’s disability to her advantage, fleshing out the world of the novel through the use of Alex’s other four senses. The result is nothing short of spectacular as the reader is truly able to “see” things as the protagonist does. (One of my favorite bits involves Alex explaining what his favorite color is—genius!)

Chand’s characters are fully realized, with each one contributing a key component necessary for Alex to meet his goal. You’ll be able to spot some of Alex’s allies from a mile away, and others are more surprising, but each one helps Alex along his journey in ways that are believable. Nothing about their actions seemed contrived. Hell, even Brady, the school bully, serves a purpose—and (I’m not giving anything away here) it was nice to see him get his ass kicked a few times. Bullies never prosper!

That’s another thing: Farsighted is genuinely thrilling. Whether you’re sucked into one of Alex’s visions or engaged in a battle royale of some sort, Chand’s handling of action-oriented scenes is edge-of-your-seat exciting. The final confrontation, which takes place in a highly populated public setting, is as electrifying as anything you’d see in a Hollywood blockbuster, and it’s topped off with an unexpected but satisfying ending.

With its unique hero, great writing, and heart-stopping story, Farsighted had me hooked from the very beginning. It’s a quick, enjoyable read, a consummate page-turner and undeniable crowd-pleaser. Chand gave us one of hell of a sequel hook, too—the second part, Open Heart, is due later this year. As hinted many times in Farsighted, the story can take an unexpected turn at any moment.

Unfortunately, I don’t have Alex’s powers of precognition. I can’t wait to see what lies ahead.

Farsighted is available at Amazon.

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