Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Blindsight (Through the eyes of Leocardo Reyes) by Ermisenda Alvarez

Woohoo! My second ever book review where I actually had contact with the author! I couldn't contain my excitement as I downloaded the Kindle version of the book. As an avid reader that has loved reading and stories of all kinds since birth I felt like I was seeing into the secret behind the scenes world that I dreamt of as a child.

Blindsight takes readers to an extraordinary world. It's almost like a world within our own. Leocardo and his blind sister, Odette are normal citizens of Spain. As the story starts we see a fascinating contradiction that drives the mystery of this book. Odette, for some reason starts drawing and not squiggles or lines, but life like pictures. Next thing she or her brother know they have been whisked away to Edaion, an island that has magical properties and it seems like it has taken the siblings hostage. Leo is frantic, desperate, and doesn't know what to do, while his sister is dealing with her own problems. No one seems to know or care that they were taken against their will and why does Odette keep drawing? She's blind!

The story starts out with an intense scene that completely sucks the reader in. Leo's distress and actions are believable and one can't help but watch (well, read) to see how he is going to handle things and if he will escape. A little later in the book, things slow down questions are poised that have no clear answer and the reader is given just enough to work on. Not so little that one is frustrated, but not so much that the plot is obvious. The plot trickles through while a fog of mystery and intrigue clouds your view and whispers of the other characters distract the reader.

The writing is rather straight forward, and in all honestly a little dry. However, the reader is given all of the technical information of the island and how the world that exists within the island works. There is no grey area that can leave readers confused, all is explained and is explained well.

The only big complaint I have about this book is the main character. He seems to be lacking a little in the personality department. His emotions seem one dimensional in the beginning (although I will admit that this gets better as the book goes on) and other than being an incredibly caring older brother I can't really remember anything specific about him. Although he was active in the mystery of the book I couldn't help but feel like he was a passive character overall. Stuff just kind of happened to him and for him, he didn't really get anywhere by himself. The only part when I felt like he was his own character and not just a pawn of the plot was in the pool scenes (oh yeah, one other thing about him is that he liked to swim). However, even though this may seem like a glaring flaw, it actually had little effect on the story as whole. The plot was interesting and unique enough that it didn't really need Leo to make it complete; he would have just been the icing on the cake.

A few last things I would like to touch on before I end this review. One is just a technical issue that may need to be looked into. While reading the book, about three quarters of the way through I had problems with the file. For some reason chapter 18 would not load for me for 2 days. I rebooted my kindle and still no luck, instead of the next section of the book I got a white screen. I tried to turn the page and for some reason I was put back to mid-way through chapter 17. It could have been my kindle (I have been having some minor loading problems lately), but in case it wasn't and other people previewing this book have had the issue I want my case to be known as well. The other thing I wanted to address is my concern over where the story may be headed. I won't reveal anything in particular, but I worry that this book may be headed for the overdone messiah ending that plagues sci-fi and fantasy books. Meaning (I want to be clear, the following scenario is SPECULATION! This was not written in the book!)  that for some reason the island is dying and that the one of the characters is so special and powerful that they have to die in order to save everyone. It was done in The Matrix, Artemis Fowl, and Stranger in a Strange Land just to name a few. In this day and age these types of endings are overdone and it worries me that the book may be headed in this direction.

I really enjoyed this book and it has made me a fan of the series. The author did something I always love to see at the end...SHE GIVES A PREVIEW TO THE NEXT BOOK!!! Now I'm caught in between a sadness of being unable to continue the story (even though the ending was satisfying)  and the excitement for the next volume. This was truly a unique book and I enjoyed it greatly. And for all of you who are still on the fence I'll leave you with an excerpt from the book to whet your literary appetite.



This post is part of the Blind Sight Blog Tour. Blind Sight is an urban fantasy novel written in two volumes, each telling the story through a different character's perspective. preview on Barnes and Noble preview on Amazon

 
Blind Sight is an urban fantasy about a blind girl who suddenly develops the ability to draw. Told in two different novels, Ermisenda tells the story through the eyes of the blind girl's brother, Leocardo. He thinks Odette is having premonitions. The other volume written by Eliabeth, tells the story through the eyes of Odette's best friend Aniela, who thinks Odette is a medium channeling voiceless spirits. This is the prologue to Blind Sight Through the Eyes of Leocardo Reyes.

Blind Sight Through the Eyes of Leocardo Reyes

 

by Ermisenda Alvarez

  Something was wrong. Leocardo’s blind, sixteen-year-old sister Odette was drawing. She stood next to the fridge and scribbled feverishly on a piece of paper.
“Odette?” he walked over, certain his eyes deceived him. He quickened his pace when she didn’t respond. “Odette what are you doing?”
Something was wrong with her eyes; her pupils were huge, and they engulfed her usual chestnut color.
“Odette, stop.”
He tried to pull her arm, but like a cat that didn’t want to be picked up, she seemed to become instantly heavier. The pen continued to run across the page as her silence persisted. He frowned, growing angry.
“Odette!” She did not flinch.
He glanced down at the paper and realized her scribble was actually an image. Trees and mountains framed a large lake on the paper and Leocardo was frozen in confusion. How was she drawing? The pen fell onto the paper as Odette collapsed into Leocardo’s arms.
Twisting her around to face him, he demanded, “What were you doing? Answer me!”
Her limp body shook in his arms; her eyes closed and she was barely audible as if on the brink of passing out. “I don’t feel good,” she murmured weakly. Even though she was naturally petite and fragile, now she looked like she was about to shatter. “I want to sleep.”
The warm brown crept back into her unfocused eyes and her pupils normalized.
“Odette,” he started again, but her trembling became more violent so he stopped. “Okay.” He scooped her up in his arms and carried her to her room. As soon as she hit the sheets, the trembling stopped and almost as quickly, snoring followed.
Leocardo wanted to wake her up so he could question her, but he wasn't sure if she would have any answers. He couldn’t help but wonder if this had happened to her before. He stormed back to the kitchen, picked up the paper, and examined the drawing. The sun’s rays tore through the clouds, and Odette had even added glimmer to the lake’s rippled surface. Odette had been blind since birth; so how could she have drawn this so perfectly? If he hadn’t seen her doing it, he never would have believed it.
Leocardo slouched into the leather couch, still holding the paper. He felt a throbbing pain behind his eyes. Staring at the drawing, he tried to glean some divine understanding of what it meant or how she had done it. His black labrador, Cielo, had abandoned him to sit outside Odette’s bedroom. He was stunned; he knew he shouldn't have been angry with her, but he had been scared and confused.
An hour passed; he was no more enlightened. He looked up to find Odette standing in the open doorway to her room. He kept silent, but his gaze followed her. She seemed better, no longer moving with the mechanical gestures she had used when she was drawing. Cielo’s nails clicked on the hardwood floor as she followed Odette’s every move.
With disbelief, he watched as Odette began to prepare some sandwiches. “Odette,” he called softly, not wanting to startle her.
“Yeah?”
Leocardo hesitated; why was she acting like nothing happened? “What happened to you before?”
She shrugged, “I guess I had low blood sugar. It was just a headache.”
“What do you remember?” he pried. How could she not remember?
“I had a headache. I went to the fridge. I got dizzy for a second. You caught me.” She paused. “How’d you get from the couch to the fridge that fast?” she asked, as though he was the one who did something strange.
“What?” Irate, he marched over. “Don’t you remember drawing this?” He flapped the page so she could hear it rustle. “What are you trying to pull? This isn’t a game.” He was losing his already short patience. Something could be seriously wrong and she was being evasive.
Her brow pressed together and her lips thinned as she let out a frustrated huff. She spoke slowly, as if concerned he was losing his mind. “Leo…you know I can’t draw, much less see whatever it is you might be holding.”
“I know you can’t,” he said a little defensively. Why was she questioning him when she should be providing answers? “You got up and went to the fridge before you started to draw this. I’m not making this up. I have the drawing right here in my hand!” He restrained himself, shaking the paper again, as if hearing the sound made his story more believable.
Odette’s calm expression indicated that she was not amused.
“How can you not remember?” he asked angrily.
He sighed and dropped the drawing onto the floor. His fingers ran through his hair as he tried to make sense of everything without flying off the handle.
“I’m sorry,” Odette murmured, “but I don’t know what you’re talking about.”
“It’s okay…sorry,” The moment was awkward and disjointed; he was unsure what to do. Odette went back to making the sandwich, and Leocardo returned to the sofa. He snatched the remote and flipped between channels until he settled on the news.
Tragedies flashed on the screen as Leocardo watched, desperate for a distraction. Something wasn’t adding up, cognitive dissonance, ironic that something he was learning in school was relevant to his life for a change. Maybe he imagined it all. Maybe the lack of sleep was getting to him and he had drawn it. Television bored him, but he didn’t know what else to do. The news changed topics, now featuring Alaska and its trading partners.
“Edaion,” Leocardo repeated one of the countries listed. A sudden and overwhelming desire to visit this island nation overtook him.
Odette came over and sat next to him, her unfocused eyes in the direction of the screen. Leocardo leaned forward as if being pulled into the screen. He was mesmerized. Slowly he felt his eyelids droop.
“Edaion,” Odette whispered. A silence fell over them and a supernatural film began to wrap around them. Invisible to all, it pressed down on them. Cocooned in this new state, he continued to stare in a trance at the screen. Unable to understand why, he had never wanted anything in his life as much as he wanted to travel to Edaion.
When he tried to stand, he felt an immense pressure upon his shoulders, face, and chest. He reached out to Odette, feeling as though he was falling through the sofa itself. Cielo whined and nuzzled his knee. His grip around Odette’s hand tightened. Suddenly the pressure snapped and he felt the painful sensation of being rammed from all sides, as if hit by a train.
In a dreamlike state, he stumbled forward with Odette sandwiched between him and Cielo. They were somewhere else, no longer in the cozy Barcelona apartment. The air was clean and chilly. A stranger’s arm brushed up against him as a group huddled together, all looking lost and confused. Half a dozen dogs circled and sniffed them. While trying to restore his equilibrium, he noticed the dogs wouldn’t leave Odette alone. They sniffed and licked her palms causing her to wipe them on his shirt. Someone asked him if he was okay, but he didn't answer. The speaker herded the group onto a bus, and as soon as he was seated, Leocardo’s head fell against the windowsill. Blackness engulfed his vision.
The bus lurched and Leocardo was propelled into the seat in front of him. His eyes flew open; his throat felt dry and his nose was pink from the cold. Someone held a colored version of Odette’s drawing before his eyes. It was blurry, and as he reached out, his fingers hit glass. With his sleeve, he wiped the window to see the drawing become clear. Something was wrong.
Why was it behind glass? Where was he? Why was he on a bus? His gaze darted back to Odette who had Cielo nuzzling her affectionately. Her eyes were closed. He woke her up with a shake of the shoulders.
“What is this?” Leocardo demanded as if she would know.
“What’s what? You’re the one who can see, remember?” Her voice was soft and timid. He realized she was just as confused. He wrapped his arm around her and pulled her close and then placed a soft kiss on her forehead.
His gaze returned to the window. It was still there. As the bus meandered through perilous mountains, he never lost sight of the lake. It was glistening, majestic and overwhelming in size, but it was not a drawing. This time he knew it was real. Something was terribly wrong.
-end excerpt-
This post is part of the Blind Sight Blog Tour. Blind Sight is an urban fantasy novel written in two volumes, each telling the story through a different character's perspective. preview on Barnes and Noble preview on Amazon

4 comments:

  1. Thanks for reading and reviewing our novel! We are currently working on book two and hope to publish it in March/April next year. We'll keep you on the list, maybe for a blog tour launch? Anyway, thanks for being honest and giving your insight on Leocardo. I will take that on board for any possible future edits.

    - Ermisenda

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    1. I would love to be part of the next blog tour launch! Please keep me on the list! Thank you for allowing me to review your book.

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  2. Also, we haven't had anyone else note complications reading the novel. At least, not the kind you have mentioned about chapter 17. It could possibly very well be your kindle but we will keep a keen eye out for anyone else that may also have the same issue. Thanks for noting that!

    - Ermisenda

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    1. If no one else had any problems than it probably was my kindle. Perhaps is needs to be rebooted or something. Thank you though for the status update on the issue.

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