Thursday, June 7, 2012

Review of The Glimpse

Goodreads Summary: "Once you've seen into the future, can you change your destiny?

In a near future, society is segregated according to whether people are genetically disposed to mental illness. 17-year-old Ana has been living the privileged life of a Pure due to an error in her DNA test. When the authorities find out, she faces banishment from her safe Community, a fate only thwarted by the fact that she has already been promised to Pure-boy Jasper Taurell.

Jasper is from a rich and influential family and despite Ana’s condition, wants to be with her. The authorities grant Ana a tentative reprieve. If she is joined to Jasper before her 18th birthday, she may stay in the Community until her illness manifests. But if Jasper changes his mind, she will be cast out among the Crazies. As Ana’s joining ceremony and her birthday loom closer, she dares to hope she will be saved from the horror of the City and live a ‘normal’ life. But then Jasper disappears.

Led to believe Jasper has been taken by a strange sect the authorities will not intefere with, Ana sneaks out of her well-guarded Community to find him herself. Her search takes her through the underbelly of society and into the pits of the human soul. And as she delves deeper into the mystery of Jasper's abduction she uncovers some devastating truths that destroy everything she has grown up to believe, but she also learns to love as she has never loved before.

Time for another little known fact about Ash of Typing Tiara, did you guys know that I wasn't always sure I wanted to be a literature major? True story! Actually in high school I spent just as much time in biology as my english courses, and took the APs for both! I even briefly considered being one of those crazy double-majoring people you sometimes hear about. Why? Because I fell in love with genetics. Those complicated things that drive most people crazy? Yep, those. They were so fascinating. I wanted a career involving genetics; preferably I wanted to be someone who tested potential parents DNA for diseases that they could pass on to their children. Not a particularly cheerful field as I look back on it, but I thought it was an important and interesting one. Ultimately I decided to go with Literature and you guys know how that's gone. Anyway...

Something else that sparked in this novel was its portrayal of mental illness; a deep, dark issue that few seem willing to tackle. Mental illness isn't pretty, it is a struggle and its very much a part of our culture no matter how determined we are to hid it. Speaking as a "Crazy", The Glimpse did a wonderful job of portraying this. The fear of mental illness that arises out of the fear of the unknown, human beings are always going to be terrified of what they do not understand and few of them truly take the time to understand mental illnesses and the varying degrees of them.

I know some readers have taken issue with the propaganda spread in the beginning of this book, throughout it really, about the Crazies. Personally, speaking as someone who has lived with this sort of thing, I didn't feel offended. Not in the way that you might be thinking from the synopsis. I was offended by the propaganda that was spread throughout the communities, hurt that it was so easy for people to believe this blatant lies but at the same time...there are a lot of misconceptions about mental illness that are spread around, people believe these sorts of awful things all the time. Its just on a grander scale in this dystopian novel.

Ariana was such a strong female lead. She questioned things from the very beginning, and continued to do so even when times were tough. She fought herself, and most importantly she fought for others. her growth to this person was gradual, believable, she just didn't become someone entirely different overnight. Ariana questioned the propaganda that she was faced with, she questioned if everything she had been told her entire life. Through her character readers learn the truth of mental illnesses, which I think cancels out the issues that may be taken with the "Crazies".

There was so much depth to this novel. Twists and turns that I never would have expected. It was like wandering through a dystopian fun house where you look into all of those mirrors and everything you see reflected back is distorted in some way, things are never as they appear. Its also a maze that leads you in all sorts of different directions, confusing you and enthralling you all at the same time. The political plot that made up The Glimpse was so complex, I am just in awe of it. And Claire Merle for being able to hold all of these threads in her mind in order to weave them together without ever dropping the ball.

I'm already looking forward the sequel, and this one isn't even out yet as I write this, I can only hope I don't have a long wait ahead of me to find out what is in store for Ana.

Rating: 4/5

This E-ARC was given to me by Netgalley and Faber & Faber in exchange for a fair and honest review.