4 out of 4 stars
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Opaque by Calix Leigh-Reign is a Young Adult Science-Fiction/Fantasy novel, following the story of 16-year-old Adam Caspian; who yearns to know why he isn’t like everyone else, and Carly Wit, who is determined to help him. Opaque is a story of will-power, determination and the overcoming of adversity, showing the growth and transformation of Adam, as he uncovers who he truly is and where he belongs; amongst a family he never knew existed and with powers he didn’t know he had. Adam and Carly are descendants of two of the seven extinct Russian Bloodlines, who passed powers down to each new generation through their unique genetics. The Iksha, a band of evil scientists are threatening the existence of those left of these bloodlines, forcing them into hiding. It’s up to Adam, Carly and their families to finally reclaim their lives.
I really liked how unlikable Adam’s character was; it is not something often seen in books. Especially the way he viewed the world; like people are animals, dehumanising his character. I loved how the story worked with extremes; Adam starting off an outsider, not wanting to associate with people at all if he could, to really embracing his humanity. I liked the dynamic between Carly and Adam, and how they were always balancing each other out; Carly combating Adam’s aggression with her strength and determination to help him and towards the end, Adam balancing out Carly’s pain with his kindness. I really liked how strong the female characters were shown to be; it is really encouraging for women and girls to see female characters overcome adversity and thrive. I loved how the science fiction/fantasy elements weren’t brought on straight away; the author waited until Adam’s character developed. It just shows that Adam was not made better by his powers, but through the help and support of those around him, which is really healthy and is something that readers can take away from the story. And finally, the lore and the world of the story was something I have never seen before in books; Russian Bloodlines and glowing Limbal Rings are so unique and it is refreshing to experience something so new and exciting.
While the darkness in Adam was needed for his growth and development throughout the story, the beginning of the book was very hard to read. Adam’s infatuation with his mother, and his overall view of people as objects or animals and his possessiveness over people close to him was so unhealthy; I almost wanted to put the book down because it made me so uncomfortable. I understand why it was necessary, but I think it could have been handled differently. The pacing of the story was a small issue; I liked how Reign waited until Adam’s character was developed before introducing the fantasy elements, however this caused the second half of the book to go really fast. I struggled to keep up with all the information and action.
I would not recommend Opaque to younger readers- there are some very dark topics explored at the very beginning of the book, that they may find unsettling. I would recommend it to readers who enjoy a character centred and driven story, with fantasy elements.
Overall, I rate this book 4 out of 4 stars. It is exceptionally formatted, with very few errors and fantastic illustrations that add to the story. While there are some things I did not like about the story, in proportion to what I loved about the story and it’s characters, the problems did not affect my enjoyment of the story as a whole. Opaque has such an interesting concept with amazing character development and strong characters and I highly recommend it.
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