Sunday, 17 February 2013

Blindsighted Wanderer - Review

Blindsighted Wanderer

Author: EC Hibbs
My Rating:5/5 Stars
The Wall has long kept Elitland Valley safe from the demons on the other side. For centuries the villagers have avoided speaking of the Wall or the creatures it protects them from.

Upon their return from the annual Country Fayre, the older Atego brothers learn of their father’s passing. When fifteen year old Silas Atego learns the mysterious illness that took his father might have been a curse from a demon, his need for answers draws him to the one place he must not go. The far side of the Wall.

When Silas is still missing days later, his older brother Raphael sets out on his own to bring him home. On his journey, Raphael learns how it was his ancestor who was cursed by a demon creature from the Lake and had the Wall built to keep them out. More desperate than ever to find his brother, his search draws Raphael to the same terrifying barrier.

Along the brothers’ individual travels they face their greatest fears, make lifelong friends, and more importantly, learn the truth of what happened centuries ago.

Blindsighted Wanderer is a tale about how truth and forgiveness will set you free. Where myths are transformed to legends that last a lifetime. The brothers leave their home as desperate boys but return to their family as honorable men.

Blindsighted Wanderer has been labelled as a story of pure genius and a coming of age masterpiece; once sitting down and devouring this book I have to agree to everything that’s been said about it.

This was just one of those stories that I found myself leaning back into my chair and saying, “whoa!” I barely had time to come up and take a gulp of fresh air before I was pulled under the excitement and adventures of our leading characters, Raphael, Silas and the royal mermaid Merrin. From the beginning Hibbs paints us a backdrop of a world filled with wonder and fantasy but also with an element of mystery when referring to ‘the wall’ and the family curse.

Hibbs opens up her first scene to a picture of two lovers’ secret rendezvous during a late night in the middle of the lake. Here we meet a young man named Adrian and the mermaid princess Merrin. What I had perceived to be an intimate encounter quickly and shockingly turned into one of the highest betrayals, costing Adrian’s not only his life but also placed an ongoing curse onto all the boys belonging to his bloodline. We are then shifted to the present day where we are introduced the Artego brothers, Raphael and Silas who are descendants of Adrian.

Obviously a lot of thought went into Hibbs’ characters, giving them a multi-layered design that felt so real I was sure I was going to put the book down and find them standing in the room continuing on their conversation. Her ability to breathe life even into the smallest of details from the Country Fayre in Elitland Valley down to the gentle rain during their father’s funeral was inspiring.

From the first exchange of words I felt the brotherly connection between Raphael and Silas bloom like an open flower, and in turn I immediately cared for them as they obviously cared for each other. They were faced with the tragedy of their father’s passing, prompting Raphael to step forward and become the new man of the household. It was this event that got Silas’ mind ticking about their family misfortune, and after speaking to the priest about the curse he’s hunger for the truth becomes so extreme that he must go against everything he’s ever been taught. Silas leaves to search beyond the wall and into the depths of the unknown. Distraught with concern as Silas remains missing, turning hours into days, the older brother Raphael quickly pursues after him.

Back to our mermaid princess Merrin, Merrin isn’t just perceived as the nasty, scoured woman who’s intent of holding onto her vengeance till the end of days but as a well-rounded character who deep down doesn’t want to only remember her hate. We see a softer side of her, a more vulnerable and insecure side especially when the title of ruler is passed down onto her and her fears of being an unfit ruler presses to the surface. I haven’t read any mermaid books before now and I feel Hibbs was a promising start to a new fad.

With twists and turns pulling me through their adventure I was constantly sitting at the edge of my seat, laughing and holding my breath when unexpected encounters occur during the storyline (I don’t want to reveal spoilers by accident, sorry for my vagueness). The characters were able to learn from one another, especially between Merrin and Raphael as I loved all of their scenes together. Hibbs had the ability to switch from each character’s focus and not lose her momentum. Her writing style was easy to follow with a natural flow, I even found myself thinking ‘wow it’s like reading poetry’; it was THAT impressive. I felt her pacing was beautiful, allowing me to really breath in the surroundings and get to understand the Artego family before the curiosity of the ‘wall’ dragged the two brothers towards a truth they weren’t expecting.

It’s a story of learning, forgiveness and overcoming your inner demons. A truly beautiful and inspiring book that I can see myself reading again and again.

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