J.C. Gemmell | Reviews | The Visionary
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The Visionary Free e-book

Reviewed By Cassie Widjaja for Readers’ Favorite

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The Visionary by J.C. Gemmell is an incredible dystopian young adult science fiction book that’s bound to blow your mind. At the beginning of February 2060, Mount Erebus erupted, the first in a chain of Antarctic volcanoes that forever changed the world as we know it. Quickly, sea levels began to rise, claiming coastlines worldwide and drowning approximately two billion people. When seawater rushes to claim her beloved Guangzhou City, our bright protagonist Xin-yi flees her home with her mother, settling in a community of rice farmers. Growing restless, she agrees to the chance of a new life as a visionary in training. Her task is simple and yet undeniably complex as she has to imagine a new Earth rising above the rising waters. Coming to terms with the loss of her brother and unexpected feelings toward her friend, Xin-yi has to choose between working to save humanity or her almost lover’s devout belief.

Drawing attention to society’s pressing issues such as climate change and rising sea levels, J.C. Gemmell gives us a glimpse of a terrible future that’s more of a possibility than anyone credits. The Visionary also showcases humanity’s brilliant innovation under pressing needs of survival. From watching Xin-yi’s denial in her grief to accepting and letting go of her brother Sheng, it was incredibly satisfying to see her grow as a character. While Xin-yi is undeniably flawed, I still admired her for pushing through life and refusing to give up. The concept behind the names of the novel’s chapters is an intriguing twist on the Chinese zodiac. A perfect blend of futuristic gadgets and dystopian society, The Visionary is a must-read!

Reviewed By Gabrielle Olexa on Goodreads

A Lot Under the Surface

There are so many different levels to this book. A lot happens in so few pages. Maybe a little too much. We dabbled in an array of topics - family, religion, government, global warming, science, technology, the near and new future, just to name a few - but never really followed them all to their true depths. I felt there were many opportunities to go farther with some, but we stayed on their periphery - given glimpses of a much bigger picture. And the ones that were on the forefront, there was still so much I wanted to learn and understand because it was intriguing. It felt like a true possibility in my life. I guess what I’m trying to say is this could have easily have been a 400 - 600 page book if more time was spent on those moments. I would have read it.

In the way the world rebuilds itself, as computers and technology reclaim the world, I could see all of that in a Black Mirror episode.

I thought the title chapters were creative and did a good job showing the passage of time.

Tej, along with the other marks, gave the book a cool a sci-fi vibe.

Xin Yi was an interesting and complex character.

Overall, it was a good read, but I was left wanting.

Reviewed By Cym Aros on Amazon

I haven't finished this book yet, but I wanted to get a review in ASAP - this book (and the main character) is immediately, deceptively engaging. I haven't yet identified what it is about this particular 1st person writing style that drew me in so quickly...when I begin to figure that out, I'll update. There's a mood here that reminds me of Doris Lessing. The relatively-near-future world-building is excellent, vivid yet subtle and believable. Highly recommend.

BookLife Prize - 2021

Plot/Idea: 9 out of 10
This story offers a creative imagining of a future where global warming has not been alleviated. The story follows the protagonist over several decades and shows how the world changes and illustrates her part in the changes and growth.

Prose/Style: 8 out of 10
The author writes in a minimalistic manner which is easy to follow, but the book would benefit from more description, detail, and explanations.

Originality: 9 out of 10
This story is an original spin on a futuristic society. It does include elements and tropes that have been seen in other sci-fi texts but presents them in a novel and intriguing manner.

Character Development/Execution: 5 out of 10
Due to the brief descriptions and little dialogue, it is difficult to see growth in the protagonist aside from her aging. The conclusion presents a small idea that she has grown from eager to succeed and be the best, to paving her own unique path.

Overall: 7.75 out of 10

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