If you could read minds would it be a blessing or a curse? Think carefully before you answer. People think all kinds of things that are, shall we say, less than palatable. Read the average person’s mind and you’ll find not only a slew of mundane thoughts about football and hot wings but the odd thought so disgusting it’ll curl your brain.
Unless I’m around; then people just think how awesome I am.
Okay, so maybe that doesn’t happen.
Anyway, that’s the starter for Penny Luker’s The Truth Finder, a YA story about a young man far in the Earth’s future who can read minds and communicate telepathically. In this world there are others with similar gifts such as the ability to create mirages of sorts. Throw in a pinch of political intrigue, a shot of coming-of-age story, and a dash of magical swans and you have a very rich YA story that avoids the traditional pitfalls of talking down to its audience. Our protagonist, Vrail, is not out to save the world from the shadowy forces of danger. He’s not the most powerful person in the world. He’s, arguably, not even the most powerful person in his village. And that right there is a powerful way to tell a story; rather than making the main character so amazing that he becomes a charicature or something to strive for but never attain, Luker tells us a story that we can fit ourselves into. It has a lot of moving parts – coming-of-age, political intrigue, hints of things that started normal but became magical – but Penny pulls it most of the way together.
I say most of the way because there are some dangling threads left at the end. The primary story is told, but bear in mind the subtitle of the book Future Earth Book 1. It simply wouldn’t be proper to finish everything at the end of this. Besides, if the whole story was told there’d be no reason for a sequel and I’d personally like to see more of the story. Here’s to looking forward to Future Earth Book 2.