Thursday, February 12, 2015

Book Review: The Ability by M.M. Vaughan

Title: The Ability

Author: M.M. Vaughan
Published by: Margaret K. McElderry Books (2013)

My Rating: ✭✭✭✭✩

This book was very, very well done! I loved the author’s writing style and the writing was very good; the sentences were long, good-paced and packed with bigger words, something I always appreciate. The plotline was extremely intriguing and the characters were well done. A mix of reality and fantasy, this is one book you won’t regret reading. 

Plot: The storyline is as follows. Christopher Lane, who’s just celebrated his 12th birthday, thinks he is a normal kid, if faced with a somewhat hard life trying to take care of his reclusive mother. When he is unexpectedly accepted into a six-student school called Myers Holt, he doesn’t know what to expect—until he learns a secret: he can read minds. Along with his newfound friends at the school and the help of the teachers, they must learn to control their Ability and to use it to help save the world from evil.

Writing/Plot: I enjoyed every bit of this book, from the first sentence to the last. Every chapter was packed full of action, mystery, and suspense, and once I started it was almost impossible to put down. The side characters at the school, if very well described, did fall a little flat, but Chris’s character development—as well as the development in the twins and in Anna—all made up for it. Chris was written fantastically, with a real feel and like you could really connect to him and relate to him, despite the fact none of us have ever gone into other’s minds. The whole mind-traveling thing was incredibly well done, every last detail described in a way that makes you wonder if maybe our brains actually are this way. If mind-reading was possible, this is, without a doubt, the way it would be. The book was written very believably, despite the element of fantasy.

Negatives: On the downside, I felt this book was a bit drawn out, in the wrong places. While the plotline the story raced along, other, smaller elements, such as Chris going to a high-end store, or simply hanging out with his classmates, are drawn out to a point where I hurried through the pages to see where the story went next, not caring whether or not Chris liked the store or hated it. After the second long section explaining the horror behind Ms. Lamb’s class, I understood the point that she wasn’t very nice and rushed along, again, to see what happened after this. 

Another thing is, I wish the author would have given us some more brief glances at time in the Think Tank, rather than Ms. Lamb’s class. While after just one scene we all get the point of Ms. Lamb, we are still in the fog and very curious—even after a whole chapter—about the Think Tank, which is written to be a very important element. It being written so, I wish the author would have spent more scenes on that, rather than emphasizing again and again on Ms. Lamb. Not that I didn’t like the constant Ms. Lamb scenes when I was reading—just now, looking back, I think I would have enjoyed Think Tank scenes a bit more. 

Overall I definitely feel this book could have been a lot shorter and still made the impression it did. But then again, I tend to think all scenes are drawn out even if they aren’t, so don’t take any of this for granted. It’s just my opinion.

Despite the very few, minor things I disliked, I did love The Ability. I picked it up one night, read the prologue and suddenly couldn’t put it down; I spent every waking moment following either reading it or anxiously awaiting the moment I could get back to it. This was a true gem of a book, it is definitely a favorite of mine and I’ll look forward to re-reading it sometime soon. 4.5 stars.

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