The Cambridge Geek

The Channeler: A Future Forewarned - Jenna Ryan

One of my favourite series is Benedict Jacka's Alex Verus books, so a fun sidestep here into YA, with the story of Caleb Swift, a teenager only just learning how to control his clairvoyant powers.

Caleb receives visions, usually painfully and unexpectedly, and hasn't had the greatest luck in interpreting them. All he really knows is that one day a fight will result in one of his friends being horribly wounded, and not even the help of the angels is likely to be able to prevent it. (Oh yes, he can see angels. Gabriel has visited him for most of his life, but isn't quite sure why he keeps being called back to Caleb.)

So Caleb has to struggle through life, always being just too different, hoping to be normal, but also yearning for someone to understand what he's going through. His best friend, Gav, sympathises but is baseline-human enough that he can't really empathise. Lucky, then, that the mysterious Darla might have a few oddities of her own to talk to him about.

It's surprisingly dense for YA. There's a lot of plot strands going on, attached to Caleb, his family, friends, the strange powers and whatever's going on with the angels. It's a little reminiscent of Spoonbenders, given the heavy focus on family dynamic, and that's quite a strength.

It's got a well-built set of characters, even if they occasionally feel a bit shoved into the background by Caleb's presence. He can seem like he has a rather more adult approach to most problems than someone his age should, so sometimes the ensemble don't get quite the opportunity to shine. Still, overall the dynamics are nicely explored.

And it's set in a world with a deep mythology. There's no small amount of lore attached to those angels, and they could turn into a fairly worrying threat over the course of a series. Will be interesting to see what they get up to. Give it a go if you're looking for epic YA.

(The book is published by TCK Publishing (Facebook), and Jenna Ryan can be found on her website or Twitter.)

Score 4

Tagged: Book Urban fantasy Angels and demons Novel Print