*** I received this book as a gift in exchange for an honest review via C.A. Gray
Intangible (Piercing the Veil, #1)
Peter Stewart grew up on a unique version of the Arthurian legends taught him by his father, a harebrained quantum physicist who asserts that anything is possible. But Peter disbelieves anything which cannot be scientifically explained, despite a nagging sense that there is more to the world than meets the eye.
Lily Portman is an orphan with a secret: she can see creatures that are invisible to everyone else. These creatures control every human being she has ever met to varying degrees… until she meets Peter and his father.
When a mysterious stranger stages an accident which nearly costs Peter and Lily their lives, suddenly Lily learns that she is not crazy after all, and Peter discovers the truth of his father’s stories… including the existence of Arthur’s ancient nemesis, one who calls himself the Shadow Lord, and a prophecy with implications so profound that it will alter not only the course of their lives, but potentially the fate of the world.
About 1/3 of the way through this book, my mind was blown. Not only is this book one of the best I’ve read in years but I’m absolutely astounded that more people don’t know about this series. In a world of paranormal, dystopian, and the influx of contemporary in YA, it’s possible that this got lost in the shuffle because there’s no shortage of mythology or fairy tales in current YA. I’ve always loved Arthurian Legends, for as a long as I can remember, T.H. White’s The Once and Future King was one of the only books I reread over and over and that really stuck with me. Then, of course, I moved on to the Mists of Avalon, Meg Cabot’s Avalon High series, and anything else I could get my hands on. I have always felt a sort of kinship with Morgan and despised Guenevere. I hadn’t realized just how much I yearned for a new series that did these legends justice until I became immersed in this book. If you’re fans of Arthurian Legends in general, Harry Potter, or really an epic storytelling, check this out, you will not be disappointed.
- Intangible combines the brains of the pragmatist with the heart of the daydreamer. The juxtaposition of the “real” world of hard facts soaked in physics and proved with the scientific method and the mythical, magical world of Clarion, where Arthurian Legends are a legitimate history and every individual has an elemental power challenges the reader to question what the naked eye can’t see and to believe in something intangible.
- The layering in this story is extremely impressive and I can’t help but admire C.A. Gray for the connections made. Everything flows seamlessly together and is interconnected. Between the zodiac, the actual science, the legends, and symbolism, your mind becomes a war zone. Everything fits so well that it’s almost like this mythology becomes a reality and it’s hard to find cracks to refute something so solid. This is some of the most beautifully intricate plotting I’ve seen-think Tolkien, George R.R. Martin, R.A. Salvatore’s Cleric Quintet, Nix’s Abhorsen series, or Diana Wayne Jones’ Chronicles of Chrestomanci.
- The Arthurian Legends are told in a revamped, fresh way while maintaining the overall whimsical and majestic integrity of the original. Not much varies from the earliest texts, some elements are expanded on or enhanced but seem like that could be the missing link or a lost aspect of the original. One or two plot points were different than what I expected but they added complexity and drama to the legends and make a lot of sense in retrospect.
- Penumbra. These are like shadowy, leech-like creatures that link to the human body and sometimes fuse making the person a puppet to what the creature desires. They’re wicked cool and terrifying at the same time. Each one is unique and reflects the overall personality of the individual. There are gorgeous sirens, beastly ogres, and menacing ravens. It’s awesome, quirky, and a little reminiscent of Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials.
- Lily’s past is tragic and full of devastating heartache but she is fierce. She’s blunt, honest, a bit weird and sometimes overly emotional but Lily is the best friend anyone can ask for. She’s unafraid to take risks, badass at kendo, and pieces clues together incredibly quickly.
- There is one surprise after the other, it’s so calculated yet feels exhilarating with every new twist and turn.
- All of the secondary characters are vibrant, full of fun little personality traits, and are totally memorable. You’ll definitely have tons of new favorites.
- Avalon, the connection to the penumbra, the castle in the sky. Everything is enchanting, creative, and full of the epic good vs. evil thirst for a happy ending.
- Peter is an unlikely hero. He’s nerdy, lonely, and way too smart for his own good. Constantly being bullied and ignored, Peter acts out, crafting ingenious scientific experiments that get him into tons of trouble. Peter is just trying to find his place in the world and as he is swept up into the prophecy and legends, it’s overwhelming. Peter is real, he reacts like any young person would do but he works alongside his fear to fight the darkness and evil that threatens his new world.
- There’s something vicious yet immensely sad about Kane. He has a dual nature that makes you want to love him as much as you want to punch him in the face. He’s reckless, dangerous, and yeah, envious but he’s also an emotionally wounded young boy. He’s pretty malicious but he’s funny and always up to something.
- Peter’s scientific ramblings were a learning experience for those of us who are not into science or zoned out their physics classes, and while I did learn quite a bit, sometimes it was a little much. Peter’s obsessed and it made him seem frightfully boring at times.
If you like any of the following, you’ll enjoy this: