Polarity by Susan Meraki
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
~I received this book for free from Susan Meraki through Goodreads. These opinions are my own~
Polarity is over 300 pages long, and every page makes a huge contribution towards what unfolds to be a well thought-out, thought provoking story.
I'll be vague at the beginning of this review, and leave content that may contain spoilers until the end, for people reading this that haven't read the book yet. Usually I can write a review without referring to specific plot points, but with this novel, there were some genius moments that I must react to individually.
I will say that the best part about the book is that it leads you to interpret the events a certain way, when they are, in truth, the complete opposite. You see characters and are only shown tidbits of their actions at a time, and often are left to guess at their motives. That is beautifully done, because it leaves the reader to search for small details that may lead them to the story's outcome, and even then, they can't be sure. For instance, you are introduced to two extremes of a sense referred to as 'polarity' and immediately want to dictate which side is 'good' and which side is 'evil.' When you think you have discovered the answer to this, you realize that actions you thought had good motives behind them, actually were quite contrary.
There are several places with slight errors, such as a sentence feeling incomplete, like, for example, "After grabbing her bag to make sure she had her notebook and pens." But there are only a few of these instances, and they do not heavily impact the reading experience.
As far as characters go, there was a strong variety of colorful personalities that are revealed throughout the narrative. Though the protagonist, Susie, could be seen as a "Mary Sue" character, I feel that this was an intentional choice; when you first meet her, she is supposed to be a girl trapped in a rather dull life, who won't allow anything in her life to be out of place. However, she is a dynamic character who, through her experiences with characters like Dan, grows into a person who strives to stop suppressing her true personality.
(view spoiler)[Dan is a brilliantly written character, because the reader is led to trust him, and to see him as a guy with good intentions, when really, he was doing just the opposite of what he said he was. It really was an ingenious tactic to pretend he was protecting Susie so he could more easily kill her, because it brought her closer to him, and she was only seeing his side of the story. It's almost frustrating to find out the side he is really on because you want, as a reader, to like him. Characters like him and Harold seem so kind and likable, but that is their facade. I found Rich to be a bit less likable, but he does serve to show an interesting perspective of polarity which is slightly different that what Dan had told Susie so far.
This goes the same way with Father Crane, Frank, and Spike, because it is easy- given the vague passages through which the reader is shown their actions- to believe that they are evil, violent, and insensitive.
For at least the first half of the book, it is also easy to assume that Dan and Father Crane are on the same side of the spectrum, given that they come from the same monastery with the priest mentoring the boy in may ways. However, with a look back at the book's opening chapter, it is obvious that Dan has developed this internal motivation to sharpen his abilities beyond that of his mentor.
There are so many small instances that hint at the novel's outcome that are easily overlooked. One thing I did pick up on was Susie becoming faint whenever she was near Frank or Spike, such as in the botanical gardens, in front of the taxi, and at the airport. This suggested that Susie was developing the same polarity as Frank and Spike, which explains why Dan, having the opposite polarity, was sent to eliminate her. I did not pick up on her bringing the parachute, though I feel I should have. It was a detail hidden earlier in the text and easily forgotten, but expertly used. (hide spoiler)]
I was very happy at the open ending, which suggests a sequel. I am eager to read it as soon as it is released, and, in the meantime, will be recommending Polarity to several friends of mine. Thank you for the opportunity to read and review this novel!
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