Title: Scarlet Crane by J.E Hopkins
Media Source: E-book: Kindle
Rating: 2.5 out of 5 stars
Recommendation: There is a lot about the book that is predictable and needed to be smoothed out a little more.
Dr. Beniot and partner Stony Hill are investigating the death of another agent, an agent sent to China to investigate the disappearance of children across the world. The children being kidnapped have one thing in common they are all approaching the period of time of one month at the onset of puberty where they can perform magic. But there is one deadly catch, if the magic is not unique enough, the child will die. There are rumors about an organization using these children in an experiment as war weapons. The investigation takes the team all across Asia trying to find answers to their questions.
This was an interesting and unique story. Intermixed with the story about the investigation were stories of children trying to use transition magic for one reason or another. Most of the time the children's requests were not unique enough, which makes the readers wonder what would make it unique enough for the children to survive? Is it in the wording they use and how is it decided whether or not the request is unique? Despite those questions and more the novel does a great job at describing everything down to the scenes where everything takes place. There are moments when what happens seems predictable and slow going. The novel does take a while to pick up pace, some of the characters even seem to be a little bit predictable, but that seems to add a quality to the novel. Hopkins weaves a tale of intrigue. Some questions do arise throughout the novel like what will happen to the kids who use magic and survive, will they be able to use it past that one month?
The characters are one dimensional. There isn't much back story to any of the characters, what is the background to Stony and Benoit? Why is he reluctant to work with her? We get a small glimpse into the personal life of Stony and Akina, but it seems out of place and inappropriate for the storyline. Then as the novel progresses readers wonder why Akina is involved in the conference calls, what is her role in the program? However there are moments throughout the novel when readers anticipate what will happen next and can't wait to find out if Scarlet Crane succeeds in their experiments, if one child performs the ceremony correctly to use magic or if Beniot and Stony will be able to find out the truth behind Crane and other programs like it. While there are things about the novel that bring the rating down lower than some other books, it does have good aspects to it and is an enjoyable read. It is a novel that can take your mind off of everyday stress and allow you to escape into a different world. Give it a try you might like it better than I did.