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x0 (46. Ascending) (Volume 1) Paperback – October 23, 2015
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Review by Abby L Vandiver (Smashwords) A gripping tale of despair, hope and an unlikely friendship that is forged through transmitted thoughts sent thousands of miles away and bound though faith. It mixes real life facts with fictional characters bringing them to life. A most enjoyable read. You won't want to put it down. Review by Bob Craton (Goodreads) This is a fantasy for adults combining the real world and 'magic' in the form of characters with telepathic ability. It's a marvelous example of the 'magical realism' genre. I highly recommend it. Review by Marianne VonFeldt Oxenhorn (Smashwords) Great book club book. Just reviewed it with my book club and everyone gave it a big thumbs up!
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Science fiction and fantasy are not my favorite genres. There are few books that can grab me in either of these styles. Since this book was a mixture of both I was a bit skeptical. Also the mention that it was an interactive book threw me a bit. First I never noticed where I was supposed to interact. Perhaps my kindle isn't updated enough or this was left out of my version.
The research seemed to be very thorough. The characters were believable and very well written. But I just couldn't connect with the book. Perhaps if the subject matter had been different I might have connected better. If you are a science fiction or fantasy fan, or would love to read about the oil industry, or about Nigeria you will probably really enjoy this book. It just wasn't for me.
I received this book free of charge in exchange for my honest review.
X0 is the first is a series of tales about the Zeitman family, each of whom has special powers, and about their coming to terms with them However, the only one of the series I’ve actually read is this one.
The story is essentially about two powerful telepathic women, living on either side of the planet and who have never met in person. They mentally combine in order to help a younger sister.
American Lola Zeitman is a 40-something married woman, returning to work as a geophysicist, now that her children are practically grown. She is slowly made aware of her power throughout the book.
Nigerian Somadina is early 20’s, also a married woman, but who is more aware of her gift, has always known and been known for her mind-reading abilities (but this is not considered a big thing in her Igbo culture).
Lola has always been good at finding oil, and winning the bids to get her company to get drilling rights. So far, so normal. She occasionally, however, has niggles about her sister’s marriage, and uneasy feelings about certain people & situations, but nothing concrete she can pinpoint.
Somadina’s younger sister Nwanyi has been given in marriage to a complete stranger, from outside their tribe and village. Her father is delighted with the unexpectedly high bride price, and he had never really acknowledged Nwanyi’s existence until then. Somadina becomes extremely uneasy when Nwanyi’s telephone calls stop coming, and realises her sister is in deep trouble, if not mortal danger.
Somadina’s power is such that it connects with Lola, and through time and the intervention of the X0 “organisation”, Lola becomes convinced she is not going crazy, the two mentally link and begin forming bonds.
Minor characters include that of Nwanyi’s husband Djimon, who is a vile animal, degrading and debasing Nwanyi in order to break her spirit, and make her amenable to what his ultimate intention is for her. Lola’s husband is a quiet, self-effacing guy, as is Somadina’s, but there was no real development of them, or their children (subject of future books!).
Finally meeting, and working together, the two embark on a series of journeys and meetings that get really exciting, especially as it peaks near the end.
What I Liked:
Aspects of Nigerian culture also gets well explained, along with interesting information around the socio-political history of this young nation. The author has clearly put a lot of effort into her research.
The concept of and moral questions around telepathy was interesting, and how it is described as a power than can only suggest rather than influence.
What I didn’t like:
Very slow build-up, with one of the characters being undecided for longer than was necessary, I thought.
The FAQ’s around telepathy and the science etc. didn’t really interest me, as much as the discussions about it between the characters.
There would absolutely have to be mind-reading, in order for some of the plot twists and character-assists to happen, and some of it was a little too James Bond-ish.
I liked this book. It was an entertaining read, and I would recommend it as a good holiday read. It is definitely not for kids (anyone under 16, in my opinion) due to the graphic nature and implications of some of the scenes. I think the scenes had to be there, to get a sense of the trouble Nwanyi was in, however.
Thanks to the author from whom I received a free copy of this book, as part of Rosie Amber's Book Review Team, in return for an objective review.
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