Harry Potter made wizards cool again. Edward Cullen made glowing pussyfied vampires “sexy” somehow. Artemis Fowl might still make child criminal masterminds the #1 fantasied future career in schools. And Alex Kosmitoras could follow in those footsteps and make psychics relevant beyond the late night paid programs.
“Farsighted”, the first novel by Emlyn Chand, follow the adventures of Alex Kosmitoras as he discovers his latent psychic powers, which include the ability to see the future, or string of possible futures. The whole future “seeing” has an irony attached to it, for Alex is blind. The interesting thing here is that he perceives the future the same way he perceives the present; he can’t literally “see” anything, but uses his other senses to make out what’s going on. That’s what sets this book apart from others aimed at the YA audience; Alex is not the most popular kid in school, or even falls in love with the most popular girl in school. He’s more the Peter Parker kind, the outcast, somewhat nerdy kid learning to become Spiderman and take responsibility for his powers. In fact, Spiderman is referenced at one point, when Alex decides once and for all to use his powers for the good of others, most immediately his best friend (and love interest) Simmi, who he thinks to be in grave danger due to some of his visions. Another reference – and a bigger influence on the creation of Alex’s character and his greek heritage – is Homer’s The Odyssey, which features a blind prophet. Alex is a modern version of this prophet, another creative twist in and of itself, for very rarely do the oracles or prophets get to star in their own adventures (with few exceptions, such as the biblical Elijah).
What about the story itself? While it didn’t blow me away, it was a good enough beginning to the series to want to read more. I guess that comes with being an origin story, where character development time is spent in place of “lock and load, let’s blow some shit up” time (or “let’s have some vision” time, I guess). And while Alex, Simmi and Shapri are no Harry, Ron and Hermione, they are a good enough trio in their own right, with plenty of conflict, both from being teenagers adjusting to each other’s personalities to the mild sexual tension between Alex and the two girls. There were a couple character actions that bothered me, such as the weird reconciliation between Alex and Simmi (weird enough that I was sure he was dreaming it until… well, it was obvious he wasn’t dreaming), and those coupled with the “not being blown away by the story” bit prompted me to give it four instead of five stars. Still a very good debut by Ms. Chand.