What Charley Robson thinks of Jax

Here is the very first review of Part One – Jax (Indigo Kids).

It is written by the annoyingly talented Miss Charley Robson and yes, she is a young adult also, so her opinion counts, okay! 😉

This is what she had to say about Jax:

Indigo Kids: Book One – Jax

I read this book end to end in just under two hours, on a rainy afternoon in Wales. Time well spent, I tell you.

Jax is the first instalment of the Indigo Kids series. It is not a very long book – short, I think, even for YA, but the serial-like setup is pretty complimentary to the story on the whole. The central concept – a group of teenagers who are gifted with special abilities and a subsequent obligation to save the world as we know it – is not unfamiliar territory for any reader, and so the book wastes no time with pretty-but-pointless prologues and, instead, opts for a much more punchy opening in media res.

The central character, Jax, was one of my favourite aspects of the book. Although the narrative uses a third person perspective, Jax’s voice is almost omnipresent via turns of expression and mental assessments of her surroundings. Jax herself is also very engaging; she is spunky, determined, clever, funny and, although her age is a little hard to guess from the outset, behaves very much like a normal teenage girl (which can be something of a rarity among teenage protagonists of the supernaturally gifted variety).

Another thing that I feel particularly deserves a mention is Jax’s race. Description is not used overmuch in terms of characters’ appearances, but the references to Jax’s dark skin and springy curls do indicate that she is non-Caucasian. The fact that this has absolutely no bearing on the story, or on the way other characters treat her, is an absolute delight – and something I would love to see more of in YA in particular.

In terms of Jax’s gifts, and their bearing on the story, my feelings are also largely positive. Rather than being amorphous serendipities that appear for no discernable reason, her gifts are tied directly to an already established interest. Thus, Jax’s motivations are made much stronger, and rather than inducing the need for an explanatory interlude, the revelation has a much more progressive effect on the story overall.

As I mentioned before, Jax is not a long book – nineteen chapters, and none of them sizeable. The pace of the story, therefore, is much faster than usual. On the whole, I’d say it worked well – the writing is taut, and there is plenty of action to keep the reader’s attention. However, I do feel the book might have merited a few more chapters, if only to better establish Jax’s circumstances prior to the day she discovers her gifts. Although hints about setting can be picked up via other aspects of the narrative – the chapters involving Michael, in particular, are very enlightening – I personally would have preferred a bit more time to get my bearings, and perhaps gain a little more imaginative traction in Jax’s world.

There are a couple of other similar instances too – although the enigmatic nature of Jax’s power is interesting, like the secrecy of the grey-suited antagonists, the lack of explanation can sometimes be somewhat disorienting, as the reader is suddenly confronted with new concepts that, seemingly, make perfect sense to the characters without any explanation being given.

Furthermore, with the speed of events, the emotional and long-term impact of one or two which, without giving anything away, are pretty drastic, is somewhat lost amid the constant flow of action and reaction.

On the whole, though, Jax is a very strong debut for the series, combining a fast pace with an engaging protagonist and handling its somewhat moth-eaten central concept with an infectious surety and enthusiasm. It’s fun, fast, and well worth an afternoon’s attention.

Thank you Charley! 🙂

Charley raises some valid points about non-explanation of events, so let me answer that quickly. This is done for a reason. Indigo Kids Book One is broken down into seven parts, one for each kid. It is intended as an introduction for the characters as each of them has a special gift and is made aware of it in a different way. Books two and three will not be serialised in this way. The parts intertwine and the threads come together at the end of the book, and things do become clearer as you meet each kid, I promise!

Thank you Charley for taking the time to write about Jax and I am glad you loved her as much as we do!

Hadi will be coming your way soon!

Stevie

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