I received this book free of charge from the author in exchange for an honest review. Part or all of this review may be quoted elsewhere without my express permission so long as “Writer’s Block Party” or “Lisa Taylor” is given credit with a link back to this post.
Back Cover Description:
Rare glimpses of birds are the only reminder of the freedoms Rain Hawkins once had. Now segregated into a mixed-race zone within the United Zones of the Authority, under tyrannical rule of President Nicks, Rain is forced to endure the bleak conditions set upon her. The possibility of a way out arises when Rain discovers an organized resistance called The Freedom Front, and learns that she, along with many other multi-racial people, has special abilities. Determined to overcome her situation, Rain sets out on a mission with the resistance that will fill her life with wonder, romance, and the undying hope for a better world.
Prismatic is the story of Rain and her friends, who at the beginning of the book, are being placed in a “Mixed Race Zone” by the dictator, “President” Nicks. All races are divided into zones, but most are treated halfway decently. Mixed races, however, are considered by this new government to be inferior and so live in extremely harsh conditions. Rain, a teenage girl, and her young brother Daktari, have lived in the Mixed Race zone with their parents for four years when the story really begins.
Rain meets Jabari, the man she is clearly meant to be with. She is attracted to him immediately, but she gets a whole lot more than just a new boyfriend. Jabari has started The Freedom Front, a small rebel group of teenagers determined to overthrow this new, oppressive government. But that’s not all…apparently those of mixed ethnicity have powers to varying degrees. These abilities aid the kids in their quest to begin a revolution.
The idea for this story is just great, and I was extremely excited to read it. I liked the characters and loved the concept. I also love the cover, although now that I’ve finished the book I don’t get the connection of the title “prismatic” or the graphic on the front to the story. The relationship between Rain and Jabari was, while sometimes cheesy, something that paranormal romance fans will eat up. The female characters are strong and the relationships balanced. I also found Jabari’s two friends, the comical duo, to be extremely entertaining and I honestly thought Zi and Daktari’s barely perceptible relationship was the best developed of all of them.
There were a few specific things that really held this book back for me though.
First, it was extremely wordy. While there were no typos, I feel like this book must not have gone through a professional editor. Often times two or three paragraphs said the same thing over and over. Sentences were unnecessarily long and complicated to state simple ideas, and lots of passive voice (was doing vs. did) sometimes held the action back. I felt like I was being told about the action after the fact, I didn’t feel like I was IN the action. It was written very conversationally. Things that we say like “try and” instead of “try to” aren’t as noticeable in speech, but really drove me nuts in the writing.
Second, things seemed to work out far too easily. I feel like this book could have been longer and had so much more “edge of your seat” action if things had gone wrong once in a while and the kids had to think on their feet. Throughout the book, they plan these missions they have to accomplish (stealing fuel, sneaking out of their zone, etc.). When they execute the plan, the mission goes quickly and without a lot of action because it always works. If anything does go wrong, it’s an easy fix, and only takes a few sentences of uncertainty before the problem is solved. Now this is the first of a series, so I don’t know how complicated the rebellion will get…but so far, it hasn’t been too difficult which I find a bit boring.
This book would go from just okay to great if: 1) the author had gone through and made the sentences action-oriented and to the point (made every sentence move the story forward). That would make it much shorter. And then 2) beefed it back up with more obstacles and action and plot points.
So, the book didn’t drag me in and force me to stay up reading. But, even with the problems I mentioned, I never had a hard time picking it up either. I did want to know what happened, and if I can nab a free copy of the second one to review, I probably will just because I know that writing improves significantly with every book a writer tackles. So we’ll see what happens with the second book. For the series as a whole, I’m reserving judgment.
Still, we all like different things about our stories, so if this sounds like a book you’d like, pick up a copy and see what you think!