Friday, November 11, 2011

The Search for Artemis - P.D. Griffith

About the book

Fifteen-year-old Landon Wicker is psychokinetic, but the tragic unleashing of his abilities forces him to run from everything he knows. Alone, terrified and unable to remember the events that compelled him to flee, Landon fights to survive and understand what's happening to him. He finds solace, however, in the company of hundreds of psychokinetics like him when he's brought to the Gymnasium.

Forced into a life where people don't just see - but control - the world around them and teenagers lift city buses with a thought, Landon struggles to accept his new reality and the guilt over his painful secret. But everything changes when a chance encounter with a mysterious girl propels him on a hunt for answers. Uncovering dark truths the Gymnasium would do anything to keep hidden, Landon must choose where his loyalties lie.

Will Landon accept his past - and his future? Will he discover the truth? What's hidden in the Restricted Tower, and who is Artemis?

388 pages (ebook)
Published by: Gryff Publishing Ltd.
Published on: June 1, 2011
Author’s webpage

Thanks to the publishers for sending me a copy of this book to review.

I have never been really good at reading young adult books. For some reason I generally have problems getting into them and appreciating them for what they are. That being said, there are some great young adult books out there which make me really want to appreciate the young adult genre more than I currently do. It’s for that reason that I wanted to try The Search for Artemis. That, and I am always rather interested in stories about normal people who suddenly find out that they aren’t so normal after all.

P.D. Griffith does a great job at exploring human nature in The Search for Artemis. The protagonist, Landon Wicker, opens the book with a traumatic event which really pushes him to grow and develop in some rather surprising ways. Griffith doesn’t just tell the reader what happens, but he really pulls the reader into the mind of Landon Wicker as he changes, grows and develops. Griffith’s exploration of a teenager’s psyche in a world that isn’t anything that he expected it to be is rather poignant and will probably strike a chord in many readers.

One of the issues I have with young adult books is that the authors tend to write teenaged characters who act and think like adults, or teenaged characters that act and think like five year olds. Griffith doesn’t do either of these. In fact, Landon reads exactly like a fifteen-year-old and that, perhaps, is what makes much of his character so engrossing. He’s the fifteen-year-old all of us remember being in his speech and thought process, thus, he’s easy to relate to. Only, unlike us, this fifteen-year-old is thrust into a big, scary world and left to basically figure it out on his own. The only down side to this realistic fifteen-year-old stuff is that once Landon meets others that are like him, the “hey dude” talk is a little overdone.

The Search for Artemis almost reads like Griffith’s answer to Harry Potter. Landon enters a special school, housed in a mansion for others that are just like him. It’s a school where he learns to control his ability and function normally in society. Griffith’s world is a bit more raw than Harry Potter, but fans of Harry Potter might find many similar themes between the two series, specifically in regards to the special school for the gifted. This is a double-edged sword. While many might enjoy the idea of a special school, others might feel as though this story has been told before.

Griffith’s world isn’t as well realized as I had hoped it would be when starting the book. There isn’t enough description of surroundings, buildings, etc. to make the reader vividly visualize event surroundings. This had the effect of, at parts, driving a wall between readers and the book itself. While some readers may not notice this issue, for others who enjoy a lot of well realized surroundings and a vivid world, this book may disappoint. Despite that, Griffith fills his book full of enough myth, legend, mystery, intrigue, secrets, other worlds and creatures to please nearly anybody.

Some of the plot points are rather predictable. For example, it’s obvious that once Landon realizes that he can do some rather interesting things that he’s not going to be the average teenager with special abilities, instead, he’ll stick out from that crowd in some respect so it’s not really a shock when the reader gets to the point where Landon is discovering that he’s not just special, but he’s ultra special. Another point the book struggles with is toward the beginning when Landon is dealing with the scene the book opens with. While his actions are believable, I often felt that there was some sort of disjoint between his emotional processing of the events that transpired and his physical reaction to them.

The Search for Artemis is quickly moving and, at parts, proceeds at a breakneck pace. Something is always happening, and while some of the book might not have the shock value the author was going for, there is enough raw humanity here to please almost any reader. The story of Landon is absorbing, as Griffith is realistic in dealing with Landon's growth, development and his emotional reactions to events as they happen. Despite its flaws, The Search for Artemis will leave fans with a slam-dunk ending that will cause them to yearn for the second book in this series.

3/5 stars

1 comment:

  1. having read the book, I can understand the comment about the pace of the book. I however, liked the pace and appreciated the confusion it caused in the young mans mind. Because of that confusion, I feel that this is a great platform to the next novel and hopefully more. I see movie in this novels future.