Refraction by Naomi Hughes
“Refraction: the way light bends and breaks and scatters when it’s caught by a prism or by a lens.”
After an attack on earth, all reflective surfaces become weapons to release monsters, causing a planet-wide ban on mirrors. Despite the danger, the demand rises, and 17-year-old Marty Callahan becomes a distributor in an illegal mirror trade―until he’s caught by the mayor’s son, whose slate is far from clean. Both of them are exiled for their crimes to one of the many abandoned cities overrun by fog. But they soon realize their thoughts influence their surroundings and their deepest fears begin to manifest
The premise for this book is top notch. I love in books when the world goes to shit, it really brings out the best and worst in people. Some just try and get by, some help those around them and some are out for themselves. Marty falls into the last category. He is a selfish arse, who just wants to get to his brother, unfortunately he is on the other side of the world.
Elliot is the mayor’s son who is willing to cross the line to catch the bad guys. Unfortunately for him that makes him a bad guy in his mothers eyes.
These two men couldn’t be more different and now they are stuck together in the fog, learning about the new world, themselves and each other. They have to learn how to survive and in doing so they may discover the truth about their world.
Having your deepest fears come to life is probably as bad as it gets really. For Marty, who suffers from OCD and has severe anxiety symptoms, it is literally the stuff of nightmares. He struggles to control his thoughts at the best of times let alone when they could manifest monsters. The tension built throughout really well. The story moved a long quite quickly so you never got bored. You could easily sit down and read this in a day, it’s incredibly compelling.
This is a book that I think is best read without knowing to much about the story. Let that gorgeous cover suck you in and avoid the detailed reviews until afterwards.
I will say that my favourite part of this book was Marty’s character arc. Damn he had some growth. Also the description of his symptoms and mental health issues were so spot on. While I was reading it, I was convinced that the author had been through the same or similar issues to Marty, because the way she explained them and the shame we attach to our inability to control them was incredibly relatable.
“I lift my zip-tied hands, tap the door frame three times on the left and five on the right, hoping Elliott doesn’t notice. Relief saturates me; now I’ll be safe from the Beings, safe from the fog. Three and five are good numbers. They’ll protect me.
But barely a second later, a tidal wave of shame rips through me, drowning the relief. I curl my hands into fists, furious with myself. I’ve just broken a yearlong streak of not performing any of my compolsions. How hard is it to simpily walk through a damn doorway? All I had to do was not tap it, but somehow I couldn’t even manage that. I know tapping won’t protect me. I know the relief never lasts long. I know all about the lies OCD is telling me – and I still gave in to them anyway.”
I don’t have OCD but I know those feelings of shame and frustration. It is something I think many with mental health issues can understand. It turns out that this is “own voices”, so she was very much writing what she knows. And she does it honestly and respectfully.
I received a copy of Refraction via Netgalley. The kick ass banner for SciFi Month is courtesy of Sebastien decoret via 123RF.com
You can pick up your own copy of Refraction from – Amazon / Barnes and Noble / Book Depository
Author: Naomi Hughes
Released: 5th November 2019
Publisher: Page street publishing