Flicker and Mist by Mary G. Thompson
Published January 3rd, 2017 by Clarion Books
Romance, intrigue, and plenty of action are woven into a rich and suspenseful narrative in this powerful YA fantasy. The mixed-race heroine Myra is a Flickerkin and can flicker (become invisible) at will. She hasn’t cultivated or revealed this ability, since Flickerkin are persecuted as potential criminals and spies. When invisible people become tricksters and then murderers, Myra’s Flickerkin heritage becomes a deadly secret, putting her relationship with the leader’s son—and her own life—in jeopardy. Loyalties shift and difficult choices are made before Myra understands who she wants to be.
Mary G. Thompson was raised in Cottage Grove and Eugene, Oregon. She was a practicing attorney for more than seven years, including almost five years in the US Navy, and is now a law librarian in Washington, DC. She received her BA from Boston University, her JD from the University of Oregon, and her MFA in Writing for Children from The New School.
Myra can turn invisible – or as they call it in the Upland, can flicker – and she absolutely hates it.
Flicker and Mist is a book about a privileged girl yearning to forget the half of her blood that is different, which many can take the wrong way and presume she is racist. The story takes place on an island (are they cut off from the rest of the world?) that is governed by a Council and Deputy of single race, the Plats, in which her father (a full-blooded Plat) is a member of. The Council and Deputy strive to please the Waters, the “deity” of their religion, and so ban any Flickerkin from their land due to ancestral strife.
Myra’s mother is secretly a Flickerkin and is constantly being torn apart by the citizens of New Heart City for being a Leftie. Leftie’s are the fair-skinned, fair-haired, physically smaller race that came directly from the first Flickermen and are said to be dangerous because of their mixed blood. They live in the Left Eye and do not live among the Plateau people due to the tests and grievances subjected to them. Myra of course, being Myra, cares far too much about what people say behind her back and what her mother thinks so she strives to suppress her flickering and balance her love for Caster and wetbeast Hoof, friendship with Porti, and connection to the Leftie Nolan by constantly deceiving and complaining.
I have a like/dislike relationship with this book. Mainly because, albeit a fantastical idea, the world of the Upland is missing the connection between world, character, and reader.
The characters are bland, you could just as easily get confused on who is speaking if the author eliminated the names in dialogue. This takes out a huge chunk of the story because, to me, if you can’t connect to a character and understand at least a little bit of why they make certain decisions – taking away unpredictability and human urges – the whole book is ruined. Myra is described well on the outside, sure (physically and on how she prefers training with Hoof over shopping for dresses with her best friend Porti), but internally, her turmoil seems selfish and one-sided.
Again, this is not a poorly created world, just poorly executed. There is a fair amount of betrayal, romance, and intrigue just as much as there are moments where I skipped pages out of boredom and found myself sighing and with second-hand-embarrassment with the characters. The fact that there is talk of a sequel makes me think of how I will read it only to rest my mind on the long list of unanswered questions I was left with. Hey, maybe the sequel is better? Hopefully.
Scale – 1 = none, 2 = once or twice, 3 = neutral amount, 4 = at least once a chapter, 5 = an excessive amount
1 2 3 4 5
Age Range Recommendation:
YA all the way through. Even Myra, the protagonist, is a teenager herself so keeping the audience to teens is appropriate.
Crude or Profane language:
none that I can remember
Drug or Alcohol Content:
none that the protagonist is subjected to
1 2 3 4 5
Elements of the story I don’t agree with:
Without regards to the fact that this is a complete fantasy novel, the citizens do “worship” – or rather, believe in – the ocean as a being; a deity more like it.
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