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Book review: 'Insight' is almost too fast-paced for fantasy, but is still an exciting ride

By Nathan Sorensen

For the Deseret News

Published: Saturday, June 29 2013 1:30 p.m. MDT

"INSIGHT," by Terron James, Jolly Fish Press, $28.99, 415 pages (f)

There are some books that force readers to trudge through a muddy bog of detail, hiding an altogether exciting plot behind giant oaks and dense boulders of lengthy exposition and descriptive prose.

But on the opposite end of the world of fiction, readers are allowed no time for mud or trudging — there is only enough time for speeding cars, cruising spaceships or flying dragons, getting readers from plot point to plot point at full speed.

Terron James — who is a Utah teacher and the Tooele chapter president of the League of Utah Writers — clearly favors the latter.

In the mystical and exciting world of Appernysia, James' young adult fantasy novel "Insight" pulls readers through a story full of fantasy, magic, war, revenge, love and intrigue.

It begins with Lon Marcs, who discovers he is not just a normal farm boy from Pree, but is in fact a Beholder — someone who can see all the energies of the world and manipulate them as well. With this lonely and magical burden, Lon faces terrible challenges, including leaving his betrothed, Kaylen, and his family to join the ranks of his sworn enemies, the Rayders, learning to control a power he cannot understand and having to keep his powers a secret from everyone around him as he searches for the only living person who can help him.

Meanwhile, Kaylen and Lon's twin sister, Mellai, leave their hometown together, Kaylen clinging to a wavering hope that her love will return, and Mellai looking for a new life away from a small farm town.

"Insight" throws readers into the horse's saddle and carries them along at a dangerous pace. For most, this means no time to slow down to ask questions like, "How did they get to be such good friends?" or "When did he learn to do that?" or "Who is this new guy?" At times, the storyline feels choppy. But with wind blowing through the hair, arrows whizzing by, swords clanging all around and the promise of magical potential flooding through the veins, it's difficult not to give in to the spirit of adventure and just enjoy the ride.

"Insight" is the first book in the Beholders series, and as with any book of its kind, has a less-than-conclusive ending — but also holds the promise of a great conclusion in succeeding novels.

Lon's death-defying journey meets with a host of perils, many of which include descriptions of medieval violence and gore that may be frightening for children under 12; however, it is void of sexual material or profanity.

If you go ...

What: Terron James book signing

When: Saturday, July 6, noon-4 p.m.

Where: Barnes and Noble, The Pointe at 53rd, 5249 S. State St., Murray

Also ...

When: Saturday, July 20, 1-4 p.m.

Where: Barnes and Noble, Layton Market Center, 1780 N. Woodland Park Drive, Layton

Web: barnesandnoble.com

Email: nsorensen@deseretnews.com

Twitter: sorensenate

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