Monday, May 11, 2015

Review: Tunnel Vision - Susan Adrian

Tunnel Vision by Susan Adrian
Genre: YA, action
Published on January 20, 2015
Published by St. Martin's Griffin
Pages: 320
Read From: 4.23.15 - 4.27.15

Jake Lukin just turned eighteen. He's decent at tennis and Halo, and waiting to hear on his app to Stanford. But he's also being followed by a creepy with a gun, and there's a DARPA agent waiting in his bedroom. His secret is blown. 

When Jake holds a personal object, like a pet rock or a ring, he has the ability to "tunnel" into the owner. He can sense where they are, like a human GPS, and can see, hear, and feel what they do. It's an ability the government would do anything to possess; a perfect surveillance unit that could locate fugitives, spies, or terrorists with a single touch. 

Jake promised his dad he'd never tell anyone about his ability. But his dad died two years ago, and Jake slipped. Now, if he doesn't agree to help the government, his mother and sister may be in danger. Suddenly he's juggling high school, tennis tryouts, flirting with Rachel Watkins, and work as a government asset, complete with twenty-four-hour bodyguards. 

Forced to lie to his friends and family, and then to choose whether to give up everything for their safety, Jake hopes to good he's doing - finding kidnap victims and hostages and tracking down terrorists - is worth it. But then he starts to suspect that the good guys may not be so good after all. With Rachel's help, Jake has to try to escape both good guys and bad guys and find a way to live his own life instead of tunneling through others.


Dear Tunnel Vision,

I’ll admit that I didn’t have especially high expectations for you. Your premise sounded interesting enough, but your cover art is less than inspiring - and I wasn’t all that enthusiastic when I picked you up. So I prepared to either put you down for another time or just say that you were so-so.

You tell the story of eighteen-year-old Jacob Lukin - a young man who has everything ahead of him, despite the tragic death of his father two years ago. He’s doing well in his classes and has a good shot of getting into Stanford. But Jacob also has a secret: he can tunnel. When holding an object valuable in some way to a person, he can read their thoughts, feel their emotions, go where they are. It’s a gift that he’s always had and one that his father made him swear to never share with anyone, not even his mom. Jacob has kept his promise - until one night at party when he tunnels to several people to impress his secret crush, Rachel. Suddenly, a secret government agency called DARPA is pounding at his door, wanting to use his abilities to track down hostages, terrorists, and murderers. Jacob thinks he’s doing good work - but DARPA isn’t telling him everything. And slowly, but surely, they’re stealing his life away, until he’ll be nothing but a forgotten boy locked in a sterile room, to be used as they please.

Initially, I was a little bored, even though you immediately begin with Jacob being stalked and a short, yet exciting, car chase. I just wasn’t feeling it. But then things got deeper and grittier. DARPA shows up and start using Jacob. He cooperates while still trying to have some control of his life. DARPA doesn’t listen and slowly start taking over everything in his life until they are essentially controlling him. All the while, though, I kept wondering if DARPA really was just doing what was necessary. Maybe if Jacob just cooperated and they would give him his life back like they promised. But there was still a nigglie at the back of my mind saying that DARPA was the bad guy. But I couldn’t be sure. . . .

As the story progressed, the suspense built. If it wasn’t for the suspense, you might have gotten a little boring. A lot of time is spent with Jacob tunneling for DARPA, getting headaches from too much tunneling, fighting with DARPA and DARPA ignoring his requests, et cetera. Jacob spends a lot of time in one tight corner or another where he has no control over the situation. But you were bizarrely addicting. And the further I delved into your plot, the more twisted and crazy and exciting it got.

Amid all of this conspiracy and action, there was a lot of character building. I won’t say that Jacob was my most favorite male protagonist, but I totally sympathized with him. I absolutely loved his loyalty and devotion to his mom and little sister Myka. He does everything to keep them safe; his actions are always based on what is best for them. Jacob might have been a smart-ass, but he was completely selfless. I also loved his relationship with his Russian grandfather, and I loved how supportive Rachel - his secret crush - was; how she clued in that something was going on. I even really liked Erik, one of Jacob’s security guards, and Ana, Jacob’s other security guard. [Spoiler] I maintain that Ana did in fact care, and I’m still really super duper sad that Erik went off the deep end. I really liked him! [End spoiler]

My biggest complaint, Tunnel Vision, was your ending. It was just so abrupt and open, but not in the best way. You have a lot of action going on, to the point where I was getting almost as exhausted as our protagonists. Can they please just have a few weeks of rest and not having to run the entire time?! Please? But your pages were dwindling and there was still so much that needed to happen; needed to be explained. Suddenly the climax was there and then. . . .you were over.

Overall, though, Tunnel Vision, your pros far outweigh your cons. You had surprisingly deep characters, deep relationships, and a plot that caught my attention the more I read it. I really liked you.

Feeling surprised,
~ Mara A. ~

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