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Friday, June 22, 2012

Review: The Glimpse by Claire Merle

Who's to say what crazy is? Are you crazy? What makes one go crazy? What happens to society when the world becomes mad? Claire Merle's book gives us a peek in a world divided, and a girl, deemed mad by society, attempting to change all of it.

Title: The Glimpse by Claire Merle
Pages: 432
Release Date: June 7th 2012
Published by: Faber & Faber
Source: Publisher
Buy: Amazon | Book Depository


In a near future, society is segregated according to whether people are genetically disposed to mental illness. 17-year-old Ana has been living the privileged life of a Pure due to an error in her DNA test. When the authorities find out, she faces banishment from her safe Community, a fate only thwarted by the fact that she has already been promised to Pure-boy Jasper Taurell.

Jasper is from a rich and influential family and despite Ana’s condition, wants to be with her. The authorities grant Ana a tentative reprieve. If she is joined to Jasper before her 18th birthday, she may stay in the Community until her illness manifests. But if Jasper changes his mind, she will be cast out among the Crazies. As Ana’s joining ceremony and her birthday loom closer, she dares to hope she will be saved from the horror of the City and live a ‘normal’ life. But then Jasper disappears.

Led to believe Jasper has been taken by a strange sect the authorities will not intefere with, Ana sneaks out of her well-guarded Community to find him herself. Her search takes her through the underbelly of society, and as she delves deeper into the mystery of Jasper’s abduction she uncovers some devastating truths that destroy everything she has grown up to believe.

Ana's life felt like a whole lie when the authorities found out the discrepancy in her test. She wasn't a Pure. She will go crazy someday, but with a father like Ashby Barber, Ana found a way out. She has to marry a Pure, Jasper, if she wants to stay inside the confines of the Community and not join the crazies outside of the wall. But Jasper disappeared, and in Ana's desperate attempt to get him back, she discovered things were not as they appeared to be and she holds the key in unlocking a truth that can change everything in her world.

It took quite a while to like Ana. She was conflicted most of the time, a puppet, one who was trying so hard to persuade everyone that she's normal and just be a part of the Community.  It's sad to think that Ana had to be broken, that she had to experience all the horrors happening outside of the wall in order for her to fully understand the gravity of the change her father's work has brought upon the world. But what I liked about it is in the shattered pieces that was left, a new Ana emerged. A better one, fighting, questioning, fierce. Jasper, on the other hand, is a character I greatly liked. I wished he was more resilient and stronger. The fight inside of him could have made Jasper a better character, but Claire Merle must have had other plans for him. Cole, on the other hand, is a confusing mix of heroism, justice, the desire to do what is right and all the darkness he has managed to pick up when the tests destroyed his chance of a happy life. These three characters have one thing in common: they were broken beyond repair. It was fascinating to read of how they will react to the situations they were put in, and I liked how Claire Merle tested their character in a lot of surprising ways.

What caught my attention and made me loved this book was the themes discussed and explored in the story. Two things: the great divide between the pure and the crazies, an ultra-modern, technological form of 'racism'. People are classified based on their tendencies to go mad and what's to become of a society when that happens? Don't we all go mad at one point? What is madness? Claire Merle has driven home a very important point in her book: the horrors that can happen, the discrimination and cruelty, by showing the contrast between the life of the Pures and the Crazies. It's like the poor and the privileged and the difference with their lifestyles. And then, the repercussions of technology. It can affect people's lives greatly, but not always for the better. The attempt to unlock the wonders of the human mind and map, predict what it can do has taken a turn for the worse. Ana's father's intentions might be good at the start, but the test, the desire to create a new kind of order has brought upon more chaos and problems than what it can resolve. 

The Glimpse is an interesting mix of dystopia with a subtle hint of the paranormal. I've never quite read anything like it. Technology has played an astounding part in the shaping of the society in the book but then Claire was able to inject hints of something beyond, a look in the future. A Glimpse. These two clashing parts created such an interesting mix that added to the appeal of the book. The Glimpse has a lot more to offer to the readers than what it seems to convey at first glance. It's a surprisingly deep read, without being boring! You'll be swept away by the conspiracies, the lies, the mystery surrounding Ana's life and those in the Community as well as those beyond. Overall? A great read! There were a lot of breath taking, heart stopping scenes, and unexpected turns in the story told by an intriguing set of characters. Claire Merle had this ability to make a reader question things and move them through her writing.

What more can you ask for? Great world building, a diverse set of character and a riveting story. Pick up a copy of The Glimpse, will you? When they said it's a compelling debut, believe them because this book has a lot more to offer than your regular dystopian novel.

My rating:

Content (plot, story flow, character):
It's got a lot more depth than what I expected it to be! Thoroughly enjoyable!

Stunning: Worthy of a Goddess' Praise!

Book Cover:
Simple but gorgeous.


  1. I love books with depth, and I love broken characters. I love seeing them grow and heal and find their self-identity. I've been hearing lots of good about this book and plan on getting my hands on a copy! Thanks for the review!

    1. Yay, I'm glad I convinced you to give Claire's book a try! It's good :)

  2. Great review, Kai! I haven't read too much about this book but I can tell how impressed you are. It sounds like the author put a lot of effort into the world building and the characters!

    1. You should get a copy when you get the chance! Yep. You should read and see it for yourself. It's tough and a bit gritty, but dystopian novels tend to give you that feeling. :)

  3. Sounds like a book that I would enjoy. Hmm.. I think I should get myself a copy. Thanks for the great review, Kai! :)

  4. I want to read it right now! Great review Kai!

    1. Thanks Von! Get a copy when get a chance ;)

  5. Just reading from your book review triggered my wanting for this book. :D
    Hope it's not out of stock :))
    Btw, thanks for the review!

    1. Hey there samaine! I'm not sure if local bookstores carry this book, but you can always order a copy at Book Depo!


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