The Eyes of Innocence
By: Tika Newman
ISBN: 978 0 9821507 0 2
Thistlewood Publishing, October 2008
Fiction – Paranormal
Buy Link: http://www.thistlewoodpublishing.com
The cover of this book is stunning. It is a wonderful preview of the story within. Readers will be drawn to this cover and intrigued even more once they read the synopsis of the story. Orphaned at the age of three Kalina Weston is raised by her Aunt Jessie and Uncle Jeff. The story picks up when she is 15 years old and the family is on their way to a new home. Readers find out early on that the family moves frequently to keep Lina’s strange abilities a secret. These abilities include seeing the future, communicating with animals and the ability to heal. The powers seem to come and go and Kalina doesn’t always have warning ahead of time nor memory of her acts afterwards. This leads to some interesting twists and turns in the story. In an effort to give her a normal life, her aunt and uncle not only relocate frequently but also try to help her hide her “gifts” and downplay the healings. Kalina doesn’t always agree with their assessment of a situation, but seems grateful for all they do for her.
As she reveals Kalina’s special powers, the author creates several descriptive scenes that are well written. Readers will learn of the special gifts little by little and scene by scene. Readers have special insight into her dreams and await the time they will play out in Kalina’s life. This makes the story compelling. The author obviously researched various facts before presenting them. Often the “Gypsy” or Roma culture is presented stereotypically in books. The author wove them into the story without leaning on stereotypical misrepresentations of this people group. In addition to her miraculous rescues (which I won’t describe for fear that it would spoil the story for new readers) the book is filled with teenage ups and downs, friendship, crushes, homework, hobbies and a slice of betrayal.
This story draws the reader into the life of the main character and several minor characters. Readers may not like Tarrah the drama queen or her awful antics, but will be drawn to Cory the friendly neighbor boy. Cory shares a love of horses with Kalina and plays a large role in Kalina’s rescue after a mishap in the woods. As the story goes along Cory is close to figuring out the secret. Will he fit all the pieces together? If so, will he reveal what he knows? You will have to read and find out. On a side note, Cory’s family has a horse farm and this reviewer was most surprised to spot her own name Pearl in the book. I won’t tell you too much, but I think Pearl was the perfect choice for a new addition to the family farm.
The Eyes of Innocence has an interesting story line. I found myself eager to read to see what would happen but to be honest, I became bogged down in trivial matters. I feel the author went into a little too much detail about food, drinks and snacks the characters ate, as well as too much discussion of chores being done around the house. It got to the point that these seemed like page fillers to me and the book would have been just as interesting without them. Additionally some of the banter back and forth between characters didn’t seem realistic for the setting or time period. I am giving the book a 3-½-shoe rating because much of the story deals with teenage drama that may not be of interest to older readers. The book is very well suited to teenagers and those that enjoy that age group may rate the book even higher. The storyline itself is interesting and readers will enjoy getting to know Kalina and her special abilities.
The author knows how to keep her readers coming back for more. As her sixteenth birthday approaches Kalina begins dreaming regularly of a white horse. Oddly, she actually sees that exact horse at the edge of her property the day of her birthday. She just knows it is a gift for her, but who gave her such a gift and how did that horse get in her dreams? Not all questions were answered when the last page was read and this reviewer was left wondering about the next book in this unique series.
The book is full of short chapters that are easy to read. If you enjoy the paranormal and are looking for a quick summer read this may be the book for you. The eyes of Innocence is book one in a planned series of three. My guess is that the unanswered questions will make many readers eager to read Forever in Her Dreams, which is book two of the series.