Author: Patrick Carman
Genre: YA, paranormal, dystopia, sci-fi
Publication Date: February 26, 2013 (HarperTeen – North America)
Source: Publisher-provided ARC
Summary: The year is 2051, and the world is still recognizable. With the help of her mysterious classmate Dylan Gilmore, Faith Daniels discovers that she can move objects with her mind. This telekinetic ability is called a “pulse,” and Dylan has the talent, too.
In riveting action scenes, Faith demonstrates her ability to use her pulse against a group of telekinesis masters so powerful they will flatten their enemies by uprooting street lights, moving boulders, and changing the course of a hurtling hammer so that it becomes a deadly weapon. But even with great talent, the mind—and the heart—can be difficult to control. If Faith wants to join forces with Dylan and save the world, she’ll have to harness the power of both.
☆: 1/5 stars – incredibly disappointing.
Review: Okay, so…wow, this blurb was so very promising. I loved the idea of kids with PK (psychokinesis) abilities along with a devastated earth, but unfortunately, much like “Dark Eden”, for me, “Pulse” really failed to deliver in pretty much all technical areas. If you’re looking for something new and exciting, you may want to look elsewhere.
Where to start? There was so much about this book that really needed a few more drafts. I guess I’ll start with the narration – it feels like Carman had a really big problem with decisions concerning narration. He kept switching between 3rd close and 3rd omniscient, and eventually seemed to settle on the latter, and it just didn’t work. With a huge cast, you may be able to do that successfully (and even then, I feel like it’s incredibly hard to do so), but because the main cast within “Pulse” was pretty small, it just didn’t work. The result? It made things incredibly hard to follow in terms of who was thinking what and doing what and generally just kind of a jumble.
Second, the world. While the world was probably the best built out of the technical arenas of this book, it still needed a LOT of work to make it work well. In the ~90 pages I did manage to get through before giving up, the world was very fuzzy and vague. By page 90, the world and its rules should be clear, or should start to become clear to the audience. I was still pretty lost, especially when the Drifters were thrown into the mix – as before then no real mention of them was made. And they seemed to be kind of important to the world, a major factor in which that world was shaped and formed alongside the main cast. The concept was good, but it just needed way more fleshing out than in the ARC copy I did read. And that was incredibly disappointing. By page 90 I expect that the characters and the world should be living up to the blurb, and aside from the two PK incidents mentioned by page 90, nothing else really even started to come close.
Sensory language. This was perhaps the worst part of the book – 90% of what I did read was telling over showing. I hate that. I seriously can’t stand that. I can understand that it’s allowed in a first draft, but when you’re getting to the ARC stage of things? It needs to be edited. There needed to be a lot more sensory input. While I could imagine the barren fields and the crows and the generally large, empty space around the MC and her friends, the rest was just kind of a blur. And that’s not really acceptable at this point in things.
Finally, the characters. The MC felt extremely bland – with the exception of the PK incidents early on within the book, I didn’t feel like there was much that made her stand out and make her matter. Harsh? Yeah, probably, but I feel like Carman could have done so much more with this book, and didn’t. I can only hope that by the time this gets pubbed, there’ll have been a nice overhaul of things in all technical areas.
Final verdict? An incredible disappointment. If you’re a YA veteran of dystopian/post-apocalyptic/etc settings, you’re going to want to skip this one. But that’s just my take on it. “Pulse” is out February 26, 2013 from HarperTeen, so be sure to check it out when you get the chance and make your own decision about how you feel about this book.