If there is a single commonality between those interested in the art of storytelling and the art of living, it is the secret wish to be involved in something greater than his or herself. Perhaps that something
could be discovering you come from a long line of magic beings from another reality. Whatever the case may be, the ideal still remains the same: we all desperately want something epic happen to us.
Of course, that may not be possible for most of us – “most” being the operative word – but, thankfully, we have the next best thing within our reach. Tunnel Vision by Susan Adrian tells the story of a young adult male; name: Jake Lukin. Jake is one of the selected few out there in the imaginative world of literature that get the luxury to discover that he 1) has an amazing ability, 2) gets involved with a potentially threatening government organization, and 3) may not be the only one of his kind. JEALOUSY OVERLOAD! Who wouldn’t want to have to balance all of those facets of life while still dealing with the pressure of high school?
Susan Adrian is nothing short of generous because she takes us through a very intriguing and nail-biting journey of her precious protagonist, a journey that all of us would like to have. Of course, because this character seems to be a little too old (18) for a young adult novel, his narrative not only kept me turning the page while tapping my feet and biting the inside of my cheek, but it was real in the sense that I never felt as though Jake Lukin was a middle-aged Oxford professor who just won the Nobel Prize for “Most Advanced Being in the Universe” (if such a thing exists). The style of this novel is quite the opposite:
“I’m sure I’ll see you around at something else,” she whispers back. “Soon.”
I grin, tap my pen on the desk. I totally didn’t expect that. Today is looking up, in a big way.
The candidness and element of comedy to Jake’s voice was very easy to dive into and keep diving. Not only is his voice so playful, but his development also is important for a kind of story such as his. If there is one thing that any aspiring writer should take away from this book it is that the protagonist goes through a change and a realization that is not progressive. There is a deep truth in the hardening of Jake’s character that balances the comedic moments in the novel and it is very refreshing to experience a fictitious life that, by the end of the novel, does not loop to the same condition it began with. This character manages to identify his mistakes, recognizes his valor and it does not go away at the end. It makes the plot more immersing and it allows us to engage in the world around Jake, whether it is dodging bullets, escaping from a car chase, or suffering the tortures of human life. This factor also helps the plot move a long at a smoother pace. It was not too short, nor too long. It was a Goldilocks-esque situation where the reading experience was just right.
However, there is one element that was not so satisfying. Amidst all of the fast paced action, epic heart-punching-right-in-the-soul moving moments, and superpower-filled explosions of awesomeness, all of that seemed to take up most of the space. What is left to ponder, you may ask?
Well, my good friends, it may shock you that this book does not focus entirely on the love story of Jake Lukin. Although the plot does in fact wrap around it in the beginning, the other elements of suspense and action become necessary for us enough to even realize that it is absent for a good chunk of the story. That is until it abruptly returns at towards the end. Now, do not fret. Adrian makes sure to keep us thrilled in all parts of this experience, but the fact that this element of love is absent throughout most of the novel is not a problem whatsoever. And the reason for that is, it makes sense to leave it out. And when it does return, she does it so it doesn’t seem purposeless. Quite contrary. Although it may seem to be abrupt and out of the blue, it happens at a point in Jake’s journey that is necessary and understandable. It is fair to say that Susan Adrian never allows any room for boredom. We don’t like boredom.
Another aspect of this book that is left to ponder is the ending. Personally, I feel that a great beginning, engaging middle, and satisfying ending form a great book. And I am going to have to give this one two out of those three. It was well written and equally as engaging as the rest of the pages, but I couldn’t help but think “that’s it?” Not so satisfying, if you ask me, regardless if all the loose ends are tied up. Frankly, I don’t know if that sense of dissatisfaction just indicates that this story was just that level of good where I literally needed more to be happy with it, or that I am simply too needy.
At any rate, it may not even matter in the near future . . . If you want to experience the announcement of the sequel in its full spontaneous glory, then it is in your best interest to read Tunnel Vision by Susan Adrian now!
Tunnels have ends, right? Well, I’m not so sure the ending of this one is so visible just yet.