Thursday, September 12, 2013
BOOK REVIEW: "Lightpoints" by Peter Kassan
When I'm reading a quick synopsis of a new novel someone wants me to review, there are a few things I look for, one of the main ones being originality. I want to be delivered a delicacy that I have not yet sampled, so to speak, and when I read the blurb about Peter Kassan's urban fantasy novel Lightpoints, I was intrigued.
Upon reading it, I found a murder, out of body experience and near death experience within the first three pages, where a young woman named Amanda Nichols is stabbed in Grand Central station and wakes to find that she can now see people's "lightpoints", the little bit in their foreheads that represents the individual's energy sequence. She calls it the "faculty" and it helps her sense if a person is good or bad, patient or rushed, healthy or ill. She wonders if everyone who had had an OBE and then an NDE have the same faculty, so she goes to a hospital support group for those who have been to the other side and lived to tell about it.
While there, she meets a woman named Lisa during her second session, the only woman in the group who is like her. Lisa invites Amanda to join her "special" group, full of people Lisa has met who are now able to see and sense other humans' energy frequencies.
Throughout the book, we are taken on journeys through many people's lives who have the "faculty"; including a man who kills the people from whom he "steals" energy through a kiss because he has become addicted to the high it gives him.
There is also a man in Atlantic City, New Jersey, who runs a large crime organization. After he is shot, he gets the "faculty" and wonders how best to exploit his new ability for maximun income and influence. After he kills his mistress (by accident, I will say), he realizes he can use it to make people do his bidding and even pass out for a little while.
While the reader wonders what he will do as he begins to gather more and more people who have this same sense, they are shocked when Amanda tells her husband, Chris, about her ability, something Lisa said she should not do if she wants the relationship to last. But when Chris decides he wants to be closer to Amanda and asks her to make him have a near death experience so he can have the "faculty" like her, I don't think I could've been more shocked!
While I have read people describe this novel as erotica, I am not sure I agree. Yes, there are erotic elements in Peter Kassan's debut novel, but they pale in comparison to the scientific and even spiritual elements that make up most of the story. I like that he used physical sexual intercourse and also energy exchange as a form of arousal. Rarely is energy exchange written about in modern fiction, as people usually veer towards typical sexual acts or, less frequently, blood play.
Energy exchange can be quite a sexual and spiritual high and I loved that someone finally wrote about it in a modern, everyday context.
Another thing I loved was the prayer group who healed depressed people with their positive energy. I won't say more, but as a sufferer of depression, PTSD and other mental illnesses, I know how energy effects those ailments and can heal them. Again, it was great to have a modern writer bring these things to light.
My only discrepancy with this book was very minor in detail but I feel I must mention it if this is going to be a honest review. Repeatedly it is mentioned that the people affected with the "faculty" are not vampires because they are not immortal. There are actual scientific studies written about "energy vampires" and "psychic vampires": beings who can sense and feed off of energy, as well as send their own to help and/or influence people. While the characters in the book do not need energy to survive as energy vamps do, everything else is similar to what it is said energy vampires are capable of doing.
(I won't start a debate on if they're real or not, as everyone has their own opinions on that.)
But I just wanted to point out a small factual flaw: energy vampires are not immortal, only "regular" (i.e. blood-sucking) vampires are in the common mythology.
All-in-all, this is a great novel that does not need vampires, werewolves or even ghosts to be sensational and be considered paranormal. Mr. Kassan writes beautifully and fluidly and he created a cast of realistic characters going through some very out-there, yet realistic issues.I loved this book and will be re-reading it again!
4/5--great work, especially for a debut novel!
Purchase Lightpoints via the following links:
Direct from the publisher Melange Books
Barnes & Noble (NOOK)