Saturday, November 24, 2012

YA Sci-Fi/Fantasy: The Geomancer's Compass by Melissa Hardy

Publisher: Tundra Books
Date: November 13, 2012
Format: hardback
Source: LibraryThing Early Reviewers
Read: for review (disclaimer: I received my copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.)
Pages: 254
Reading time: two days

From GoodReads: Set in the year 2021, this YA novel explores the tension between a young woman's future building infrastructure for Augmented Reality and the commitment she makes to her dying grandmother to honour ancient Chinese magic. The Geomancer's Compass imagines a world in the near future while exploring the Chinese immigrant experience and the expanding, elastic and shifting nature of reality.

My review: The idea behind The Geomancer's Compass was right up my alley, an interesting blend of sci-fi/fantasy with historical and cultural details. I greatly enjoyed how the author mixed together traditional Chinese (and even a little bit of First Nations) customs and beliefs, stories of the Chinese immigrant experience in Victorian Saskatchewan, and futuristic technology.

In other ways, however, this novel fell a bit flat. At times, the pacing of the storyline felt a little slow and tedious. I found the main character's original utter disdain for her cultural heritage - including rude comments made during discussions with her elders - irritating and overdone. The speculative fiction elements surrounding the geomancer's compass didn't seem to come entirely together, making the ending feel rushed and underdeveloped. Overall, this was an enjoyable read, but there were parts that I found slightly irritating.

Note: This book is written at a level that would also appeal to MG readers, and its content and language are appropriate for that audience as well.

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