Thursday, August 30, 2012

Review: All Seeing Eye by Rob Thurman

All Seeing Eye by Rob Thurman
published by Simon & Schuster in July 2012
Picking up a small pink shoe from the grass forever changed young Jackson Lee’s life. Not only did its presence mean that his sister Tessa was dead—murdered and stuffed in the deep, black water of a narrow well—but the shoe itself told him so.

Tessa’s death triggers an even more horrific family massacre that, combined with this new talent he neither wants nor can handle, throws Jack’s life into a tailspin. The years quickly take him from state homes to the streets to grifting in a seedy carnival, until he finally becomes the cynical All Seeing Eye, psychic-for-hire. At last, Jackson has left his troubled past behind him and found a semblance of peace.

That is, until the government blackmails him. Helping the military contain the aftermath of a bizarre experiment gone violently wrong, everything Jackson knows about himself will change just as suddenly as it did with his little sister’s shoe.

And while change is constant...It’s never for the better.
Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Paranormal, UF
Series: ?

The Story: Jackson Lee's life changed the day he picked up his little sister's favorite pink shoe in a field. In that instant, he became psychic and saw the dead body of five years old Tess floating in the well. Tess' death triggers an horrific family massacre after which Jackson - 14 years old - and Glory, Tess' twin, wounded up in the system. Jackson spent the next two years at Cane Lake County Home for Boys where he met Charlie Allgood - a decent boy who was able to breach Jackson's barriers. However, the two went their separate ways when Charlie turned 18 and could leave the home and when Jackson ran away, deeming he could survive on the street on his own.

At first, Jackson joined a carnival - what better place to be a psychic? Once he was ready, he opened his own business. With one touch of bare skin on a human or an object, Jackson knows everything - past, present, memories, thoughts and feelings. What Jackson loves above all is money, because money doesn't betray you. But when Hector, Charlie's brother, walks in his office and tells him about Charlie's death and demands his cooperation, Jackson knows he cannot walk away. It doesn't matter Hector is forcing Jackson's hand with Glory's latest mess-up, because despite his denial, Charlie was his friend. However, what he is about to embark on is far-fetched... even for a psychic, and when Jackson finds out Charlie was murdered, he doesn't know if he'll survive - after all, who isn't wary of an all seeing psychic?

My Opinion: I didn't know exactly what to expect when I picked up All Seeing Eye. All I knew is that I wanted to give this book a try because I really enjoy Ms Thurman's writing... And I'm glad I followed my guts because All Seeing Eye turned out to be a great read!

One of the reasons All Seeing Eye worked for me is because Ms Thurman stuck to her strengths. She knows what she's good at and what works for her and therefore builds her books around those elements. I think it's smart and in the end, it paid off. So yes, we have a sarcastic hero and the story deals with siblings relationships, but when it's well done, how can you complain? Plus, I think these elements were different enough from her Cal Leandros series and Korsak Brothers series to make All Seeing Eye stands out instead of turning it into a carbon copy. Especially the siblings relationships. I really enjoyed it because it's about brother/sister instead of brother/brother - so very different dynamics, but also because Jackson and Glory are not close at all. Still, you can see how important family is to Jackson and what he's willing to do and sacrifice for it. It was also very touching how he treasured Tess' memories, how he had loved his sister in a big brother way. I think that part was very well done. We also get a glimpse of brother/brother relationship with Hector-Charlie which was nice and different.

I also quite liked Jackson :) I have to admit he does remind me a lot of Cal and Stefan, except he is a red-head! I think that is unavoidable since he is so sarcastic and given his past; however, I felt he was less dark. Yes, he went through something horrific and he is privy to some horrible secrets and sometimes inadvertently see bad stuff, but it's not constant. I also think he was able to put the past to rest better than Stefan did. Anyway, I think he was a good hero and an interesting character and I definitively wouldn't mind to get to know him better and follow more of his adventures :) I have to say, I liked how focused on money he was. Even before the massacre, it was a goal and it was good to see his determination and perseverance. Also, no matter what Jackson says, he is not as tough as he thinks :) I liked that so many people slipped through his wall :P Finally, I have to say, Ms Thurman is a master at writing sarcastic heroes.

Other things that worked for me was the psychic aspect of the book. What I liked was the way Ms Thurman described Jackson's gift - something akin psychometry, how she set up the rules and how she stuck to them. For example, any contact with Jackson bare skin could trigger his ability with people or with objects that had been used for a long time and that's why he preferred to surround himself with new things. Throughout the book, Jackson's gift was consistent in the triggers and the results and that's what I'm looking for when there's a psychic in my book. Ms Thurman also delved into astral projection and once again, it was well-explained and well-done. It was obvious to me that Ms Thurman had a clear vision of the paranormal elements in this book and that really shone through the story and made accepted it without questions. Furthermore, she backed this up with a good and solid plot, an interesting and clever intrigue.

My only complaint about All Seeing Eye was the last part of the book that I found a bit rushed. Oh and also, don't expect any romance in here, because there's none ^_^; Hopefully, this is something Ms Thurman will develop in future books (if they are any). Otherwise, All Seeing Eye was a great read. Also, when it comes to Ms Thurman's books, I always feel like they take me forever to read. Oh don't get me wrong, I love her books and think the stories are great, but it doesn't change the fact that it's slow going... but it wasn't the case with All Seeing Eye. I think the story flowed better and it was more readable than her other books :) I think the trick was there was no real world building as it wasn't necessary and Ms Thurman didn't try to overdo it either. Anyway, whatever she did different, it worked :P

My Grade: B+. I really hope there's going to be more books featuring Jackson and Hector :)