Flicker and Mist by Mary G. Thompson
Publisher: Clarion Books
Publication Date: January 3rd 2017
Genre: YA Fantasy
Soure: ARC from Raincoast
Link to the author: http://marygthompson.com/
Pages: 377 Rating: 2 Stars
This is a story about a girl named Myra, she is the daughter of a Plat and a Leftie, the only mixed blood girl in her town. There are physical differences between Plats and Lefties but what really sets them apart is the Lefties relations to Flickerkin, people who can make themselves invisible. The Flickerkin left quite some time ago after confrontation with the Plats but the Lefties are still considered lower class and viewed with suspicion (in case they inherited the ability to Flicker). Myra has had a typical life regardless of her heritage because her father is on city council and they are seen as standup Plat citizens. All Myra ever has to worry about is the annual Games, in which she competes in a race with her Wetbeast Hoof. That is until mysterious things start to happen and someone with the ability to Flicker is suspected. Everyone is worried that the Flickermen have returned and there will be violence once again.
I had a love-hate relationship with Myra. I really liked her character but she very often did things that seemed out of character? She would talk about how much she shouldn’t do something and then come to the conclusion that it was exactly what she needed to do? As a result, there were a lot of events in the story that felt unnecessary because one of Myra’s acts would directly undo her previous one. It felt forced at times, just to move the story in the direction it needed to go without any natural flow. As Myra discovers how deep her Leftie blood runs some secrets are revealed and Myra’s reactions didn’t feel realistic. She was too accepting of all these new revelations, dangers, and abilities, as well as being a five second natural when it came to learning new skills. One thing I did really enjoy were the friendships between Myra, Orphos, Castor and Porti. Often when the main characters secrets are revealed her friends turn away from her, adding to the protagonist struggle, however in this story they very strongly supported her. I liked that a lot, it was unexpected and was defiantely one of the best parts of the story. I really found the constant, constant reminder of the physical differences between Plats and Lefties to be annoying. I only need to be reminded so many times in 377 pages of how short and round the Lefties were and how dark the Plats hair was. There is some romance in Flicker and Mist and almost a love triangle? I couldn’t stand Nolan because he was SO pushy and constantly telling Myra what to do, even physically forcing her to Flicker. Castor was great but I wasn’t swooning at any point, there was no build up or slow burn, or any kind of burn to his and Myra’s relationship it was just easy and sweet.
The World building. I hope someone else reads this books and creates some fan art of the Wetbeast because I have no idea what this thing is or looks like. It runs on land and swims underwater with a rider, it also moos and screeches? I really like fantasy creatures but the whole time I was picturing a cow and it made all the actions scenes very comical in my head and I don’t think that was the authors intention. There is constant reference to the height of the water around this island where they all live and I still don’t know what the point of that was? The original Flickermen came over the ocean on boats and left the same way and with them the ocean receded. The people on the island see the water as their god and submit criminals to its depths to be judged and no one travels on the water out of respect for the god. The rising waters are part of why the people begin to panic but nothing actually happens on the water, at least in this book. All of the trouble is caused by some Lefties who are tired of being oppressed by the Plats so I’m just wondering why the reader was constantly told how high the water was rising? Again this could be explained in the following book but it all felt a little scattered and didn’t give me enough information to become invested in the mystery.
The writing definitely set a mood well, there was a sense of fear and urgency. There was also an air of mystery- why are the waters rising? what really happened between the Flickerkin and Plats all those years ago? – but it was really deflating that none of that was explained. I felt like the author was nudging the reader that these were important to the story but in they end they were irrelevant. I had no idea where the story was going, and not in the good way, with surprising twists and reveals.
Overall I felt the Flicker ability or magic was interesting and I haven’t read a story with anything like it before. If the main character had taken it on willingly and taken time to learn it, I think I would have enjoyed it more. The first time she Flickers in the story it is forced upon her by Nolan, rather than feel violated or furious she ends up letting him teach her to Flicker which involves the two getting very close and cozy. I can’t believe someone would so easily trust a guy they barely know who just violated their personal freedoms? But she does and then after a day or so of practice she’s able to Flicker her Wetbeast as well, a rare ability, followed the same day by Misting. From what I understood Misting is when a Flickerkin goes from invisible to atomized and weightless, sort of like a cloud or a fog? Myra learns this almost instantly despite it being described as an advanced ability. A Flickerkin can also make one appendage solid and visible in cloud form, in one scene Myra Mists out over the water and lifts Castor to safety and I just couldn’t see it or buy it.
I feel like there were so many elements in this story I liked and had potential but they all just went in a direction I didn’t enjoy. I might pick up the second book when it releases just to see if any of my questions are answered but I can’t honestly say that I would recommend this because it left me so frustrated and unsatisfied.
A big thank you to Raincoast Books for sending me a copy of Flicker and Mist for this review!