Thursday, November 1, 2012

Terri-Lynne Smiles' FORESEEN: A Review

Terri-Lynne Smiles is a good writer, and this is a strong and compelling read.

Foreseen mixes coming of age with quantum foam, romance with political conspiracy, in this able science fiction story. Kinzie Nicolosi, on surface a rather ordinary college student, possesses extraordinary gifts--gifts she will discover and develop throughout the story. Accompanied by her resourceful (if often baffled) boyfriend, Kinzie comes to terms with the depths and double edge of her considerable powers, as her story widens to include community and nation.

One of the problems I sometimes have with science fiction is when its premise outweighs its people: for me to like a book, even the most intriguing concept should work its way out through believable characters. In this, Smiles succeeds unequivocally: Foreseen's protagonists, Greg and Kinzie, are drawn sharply and sympathetically, Kinzie especially so. Her gift is also her vulnerability, her strength her weakness: smuggled to a secret school in Maine, she learns to shape the decisions and responses of others, but also (and with greater difficulty) to govern her own fears, insecurities, and desires.

The book's use of quantum physics is provocative but accessible. I am no scientist, but I could follow Kinzie's experience with no difficulty, and Smiles has a talent for making her concepts visually and narratively vivid. That being said, the book expects an active reader. You are kept guessing as to whether the characters' motives are entirely their own, or swayed by some outside intelligence.

Foreseen makes you think as you enjoy. It's both speculative and edge-of-your-seat. In short, it's the kind of fiction I like and would recommend highly.

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