Note: full review with quotes, giveaway, and a link to a Q&A with Heather Cashman is here.
Do you ever wonder what it would be like to see yourself through another’s eyes, or to see the world from a perspective other than your own?
This book simply worked for me. I’m not sure how else to say it. I was initially hooked by the dystopian world and the concept of the ingenium – animal-human pairs with mental links – but those elements quickly became a beautiful, vivid background for some of the most interesting characters I’ve read in a long, long time.
Ardana – or Ana, as her twin brother Kade calls her – is a fascinating heroine, a wonderfully complex blend of strong and vulnerable, jaded and innocent. Her childhood was not happy or easy, and she is convincingly scarred from the hardships she’s endured. Despite being trapped – by her connection to her twin brother, Kade, by the needs of her ingenium, Rijan, and by the politics of her world – Ana is not a victim. She fights for what she wants, for those she loves, and – this is what made me love her – she fights to overcome her own fears, to heal her scars.
There are other fascinating characters as well, but my favorite by far is Kliax, who is in his own way just as gritty and complicated as Ana.
He’s sexy and confident, and entirely used to getting his own way…he’s also got that sexiest of qualities that I love, love, love in a hero: self-control. A man who puts his own needs on hold because he cares about somebody else’s feelings wins me over every time. The chemistry between Ana and Kliax is amazing…and I don’t just mean physical attraction, although there is that. This is the real thing, the give-and-take, push-and-pull of two people who test one another’s boundaries and change the way the other views reality. (Did I mention they have chemistry?)
The various mental links between ingenium and humans add fascinating layers of conflict to the story, and also give a depth to the other characters that you don’t often find in first-person narrative. Rijan and Khan, the ingenium tigers of Ana and Kliax, have their own opinions and arguments, and impact the choices that the humans make. I love how Ana’s views and opinions are constantly shifting and changing when she sees things through their eyes. It not only makes the story fascinating, but it’s a powerful reminder that truth is defined by perception, and that as our perception of something changes, so does our understanding of what truth is.
Perception is full of action, romance, intrigue, adventure, and heartbreak, all unfolding in a colorful dystopian world filled with complicated and engaging characters. I’d recommend it unreservedly to older teens and thinking adults everywhere.