Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Flicker and Mist by Mary G. Thompson

Flicker and Mist
Mary G. Thompson
projected publication date: 1/2017
3/5 stars

On the island of the Upland, people are divided into two races: Lefties and Plats.  Myra is the child of the only mixed race couple in the capital city of New Heart City, and both she and her parents face discrimination as a result.  In the past, Flicker Men invaded the Upland and bred with the Lefties, creating a sub race of Lefties known as the "Flickerkin".  Flicker Men, and the Flickerkin, can "flicker" or become invisible at will.  This ability is feared, and all Lefties are tested before they can enter New Heart City.  Myra's mother passed the test, somehow, but is actually a Flickerkin.  Myra herself has flickered once, and must be sure that it never happens again.  When it becomes obvious that Flickerkin have infiltrated New Heart City, Myra and her parents face great danger.

If it sounds confusing, that's because, at times, it is.  (I didn't even mention the sports, politics, religion, and dystopian elements, nor the quotes from the religious works and political documents.)  Thompson wants very much to create an original world, and she does, but she adds so much to it that the reader is overwhelmed, both by the world details and the complicated plot.

Flicker and Mist does have positive themes, which are certain to appeal to the young adult reader; themes of prejudices being broken, love overcoming hate, and people working together for peace.

Myra, as a character, is interesting and likable.  It's easy for the reader to want her to succeed with her sports, her boyfriend, and her life in general.  She is a strong female character, as is popular at this time, but she does feats that are, I think, above the ability of her age.  This is fantasy, of course, but the reader needs to be able to believe the fantasy, and I had a difficult time believing in Myra or her world.

Flicker and Mist is marketed toward an audience of ages 12 and up, and I think that this is too dense a book and world for that age group.  I think it is well suited for the older teen readers, though. (Note: this is my personal opinion, based on reading this book as an adult.)

Overall, while Flicker and Mist has an interesting premise, I found the plot to be over-complicated and slow paced, and the writing was not compelling enough to completely draw me into the story.  Other readers, however, and especially the traditional YA reader, may find this to be a thought-provoking look at race and equality.

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