Review Blog

Jun 19 2012

Disharmony: The telling by Leah Giarratano

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Book One. Penguin Books Australia. ISBN: 978014356568.
(Teens) Recommended. Leah Giarratano was an experienced clinical psychologist before she started writing. Her first four novels were adult crime thrillers, featuring detective Jill Jackson. You may have seen her as the host of the reality TV program, 'Beyond the Darklands', which examines the crimes and motives of some of Australia's most infamous criminals.
Giarratano now puts these experiences to good use in young adult paranormal crime mysteries. Disharmony, the first in a new series, sets up the main characters and the mystery, ends on a cliff-hanger, and whets our appetites for the development of the battle for humankind.
Most of the narrative focus alternates between Samantha and Luke. We meet Luke in a juvenile delinquent's facility in Sydney, dealing with bullying inmates and corrupt officers, and biding his time until he can escape. He knows little about his biological family and even less about the role he has to play in the fight between the everyday world and the paranormal. In far-away Romania, Sam lives with her adopted gypsy family, earning her way by telling the fortunes of the 'Gaje' (non rom folk). Although Sam can actually perceive the real problems, her teacher expects her to play the game and tell the customers what they want to hear. Apart from her growing dissatisfaction with this issue, the rest of her life is happy, especially with the gorgeous Tamas finally seeing her as more than a younger sister.
With the set up established, the subsequent action brings the two characters together. Luke meets Zac who helps him escape, but of course there are many more obstacles to overcome: Danger is everywhere. Sam is scrutinised by the gypsy king, chased by Asian thugs, and ultimately realises she will bring harm to her family if she doesn't leave. These adventures are dealt with in detail, both descriptively and emotionally. We see the lack of love in Luke's life contrasted with the protection and security that surrounds Samantha, and we want them to find each other. Interestingly, the third narrator, a mysterious creature known only as 'Intellicide', lets us know early they are siblings, which prevents romance becoming too much of a focus.
This is an action-packed novel, which should appeal to both males and females.
Trisha Buckley

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