By M.K. Harkins
Publisher: Createspace Independent
After being discovered shot and alone with no memory on the shore, Ann is taken in by two young men Devon and Archer. Finding herself led back to a strange underground compound, Ann soon learns that she is surrounded by telepathics known as Readers, and that she just might be capable of reading minds as well. As if that is not overwhelming enough, she discovers that she might be “The Lost One” that the Readers have been seeking for thousands of years. The Lost One is believed to be the most powerful and will determine the fate of The Readers and their adversaries, The Jackets, in a final war that will wipe out one group entirely. But who can she really trust? With no recollection of her past, and little knowledge of her own powers, Ann may have to make the ultimate sacrifice.
I love the entire premise behind this story. As a fan of fantasy and action packed stories, The Reader had a lot to offer. There have been plenty of stories centered around telepathy and clairvoyance, and we have read many tales where civilizations are pitted against one another for the ultimate struggle to survive. It really never tires for me. When presented properly, these battles can be truly fascinating. None the less, it is a risk.
What I liked:
In terms of character and world construction, M.J. Harkins starts off powerfully. We are introduced to a mysterious young girl with amnesia who quickly learns there is another side to humanity that she can hardly imagine. A side that presents endless possibilities with the incredible powers of mind reading, immortality, and body snatching.
We are introduced to three races, all human with paranormal powers: The Seers, The Readers, and The Jacks.
- The Seers – believed to be extinct were clairvoyant and predicted the coming of “The Lost One” which would determine the outcome in a final war between The Readers and The Jacks.
- The Readers – are telepathic and live hidden away with a compound underneath a large mountain while the seek out “The Lost One” among any surviving Readers they discover. They also happen to be immortal in the sense that they do not die from aging.
- The Jacks – are not immortal. They do however posses the ability to take over human bodies to live for very extended periods of time. Since The readers have discovered that they have been doing so, they are determined to find “The Lost One” and eliminate all Readers.
There is a great appreciation for the author’s down-to-earth approach to character evolution within this story. While our main heroine and supporting characters posses otherworldly abilities, they are still incredibly convincing and for the most part likable. We are constantly exposed to their inner feelings and struggles. Their humanity is maintained and this does not read as science fiction. It really did not feel paranormal to me either.
The setting was actually the Pacific Northwest, and the majority of the book takes place within a compound underneath a mountain in North Bend known as Samara, which the author has painted in great detail. Visualizing the surroundings came naturally through the her solid narration. Residing in the Pacific Northwest, I found the setting to be a pleasant bonus. I enjoyed reading a book with fantasy elements that took place within familiar environments.
The pace of The Reader was consistent and I found myself reading this over a few hours with ease. The story moved forward from start to finish without ever stalling. M.K. Harkins seems to weave her story effortlessly, eliminating any unnecessary or frivolous details.
What I struggled with:
There is a love triangle. Yes that dreaded trope for many of us.
I am not a fan of the “triangle” so this was an issue for me. It felt too cliché, and I foresaw very early in the story as to which direction the romance portion of this title was headed. For those of you who happen to be fans of love triangle (I know you are out there), this may actually be an added bonus.
The ultimate struggle for me with The Reader was the predictability. I wanted to be surprised by the ending, and while there were a few twists, most events unfolded exactly as I was expecting them to. For that reason this was a 3 star read for me.However, it was a fun read and I will definitely be willing to read more by Harkins in the future.
I suspect that if I were more appreciative of the romantic aspects that I would have enjoyed this more. Unfortunately, love triangles are not for me. I highly recommend this to anyone who enjoys a fantasy read with strong characters and romantic touches.
*I received a copy of The Reader from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
⭐ ⭐ ⭐