Teen Volunteer Book Reviews– March 24, 2023
Sea of Lucidity by David Mackay (2017)
Reviewed by Joe
The Sea of Lucidity, by David Mackay, is the most novel concept I’ve read in a book, possibly ever. Rather than stick to one idea, it seems the author had so many ideas, he didn’t know what to do with them: so he shoved them all into one book. However, the book, while not making any sense, fits this mishmash of ideas into one cohesive story.
The setting- or rather, settings- of The Sea of Lucidity are the most unique part of the book. Rather than work with one traditional setting- fantasy, steampunk, modern day, or the like- all of these settings and more are used together, traversed by the main character and his companions. From the shining metropolis of Craton to the standard fantasy setting of Entonnia, the settings, each with its own defining characteristics, are woven together to become as much a part of the story as the characters.
There are three main protagonists; Taro Brook is the character we follow on a challenging adventure. We also see him as several different characters, though Brook doesn’t always realize who he is. This strange phenomenon is explained to him by his mentor, Messenger Two Cups. This identity shifting (along with an arbitrary treatment of time) is used to create plot twists that even fans of George R. R. Martin would have trouble spotting, but is pulled off to perfection.
The plot seems almost an afterthought, a backdrop for the the setting and the characters, supporting them more than they support it. While this may dissuade some readers, I enjoyed that the simple plot allows the reader to focus on the complex structure of the setting, the characters’ multiple identities, and more. However, the plot is not entirely lacking. Hints throughout lead to what seems to be the end of the novel, and do, yet there are so many loose ends that I hope will be expanded upon as the Eldormaar series continues.
Overall, The Sea of Lucidity is quite frankly a confusing book, and yet one of the most satisfying and gripping I’ve recently read. I would give the book an 8/10, striking a point for the writing itself seeming a tad simple; but I certainly look forward to the next books in the Eldormaar series.
For those who want to read this book, it is unfortunately not available in local libraries; check out these additional reviews.
Tattoo Atlas by Tim Floreen (2016)
Reviewed by Lily
Tattoo Atlas, by Tim Floreen, is a science fiction young adult novel published in 2016. The book’s main character is Jeremy “Rem” Braithwaite, a high schooler whose mother is a scientist researching Rem’s former classmate’s violent impulses, and a way to cure them. Rem’s best friends, known collectively as the Boreal Five, also play a large role in the story. This book had plenty of twists and turns. The quick pace made it a fun and thought-provoking read. The characters were also likeable; my favorite was Rem’s best friend Callie because of her sarcastic remarks. I liked that the morally gray research of Rem’s mom and the other scientists was discussed and had consequences. The science fiction elements of the story were done well and felt believable. All in all, I liked this novel a lot, so much so that I finished it in 2 days. I would recommend this book to those who like thrillers like A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder by Holly Jackson and One of Us is Lying by Karen McManus, and appreciate a sci-fi twist.
Jackaby by William Ritter (2014)
Reviewed by Claire
Jackaby, by William Ritter, is a supernatural YA novel about a woman named Abigail Rook, who arrives in New Fiddleham, New England in 1892. Upon arriving, she meets a strange man who goes by the name of R.F. Jackaby. In need of work, she goes to see him about a job; he’s a detective in need of an assistant. Abigail soon finds out that he’s not simply a
detective who solves ordinary crimes, but a detective for the paranormal. He possesses
the extraordinary ability to see what others can’t, things Abigail could never dream of.
At first he doesn’t believe she’ll be right for the job, but he soon finds that she may be far
more useful than he first thought. A serial killer is on the loose in New Fiddleham, and
Jackaby believes the killer is of supernatural origin. Abigail must help Jackaby crack the
case, and discover who, or what, is committing the murders. The two have to do so
quickly, or else they will be arrested by the police, since they’re the number one
suspects. Can Abigail and Jackaby find the true killer before time runs out?
I really enjoyed reading Jackaby, so much so that I finished it in one sitting. I
loved the characters of Abigail and Jackaby, and the relationship between them. Abigail
sees ordinary yet important details, which Jackaby often ignores. But Jackaby sees the
extraordinary and the unseeable. As a result of their complementary skills,
they make the perfect team. They each contribute a different piece of the puzzle, and then work together to see the whole picture. Another thing I liked about this book was that it took place in 1892. The setting made it much more interesting to read, and added to the mood of the story. I was super excited to read this book, since it’s a paranormal mystery, and it did not disappoint. I would definitely recommend reading this book, and the rest of the Jackaby series.