Nov 22, 2012

Book Review: A Coming of Age by Timothy Zahn

A Coming of Age by Timothy Zahn

A Coming of Age by Timothy Zahn

Ebook, 277 pages
Published on October 16, 2012 by Open Road
(Provided for review by the publisher via NetGalley)

GoodreadsAmazonExcerpt (first three chapters)


The children of Tigris have extraordinary telekinetic gifts—but are these special powers a blessing or a curse?

Lisa Duncan grew up on Tigris, where children develop telekinesis beginning at the age of five. By the time they’re pre-teens, their special abilities have peaked, only to slip away as they reach adulthood. Constantly monitored by adults, kids are kept in “hives,” forced into labor, and prohibited from going to school.

With the end of her powers looming, Lisa defies the system and learns to read. That is, until her teenage tutor disappears and she becomes drawn into the experiment of a scientist whose research will alter Tigris society forever...

Timothy Zahn delivers a bittersweet tribute to what it means to come of age, face your fears, and even save the world.

My Thoughts:

This was my first encounter with Timothy Zahn. Since A Coming of Age does not have high rating on Goodreads (only 3.6) and it was written in 1984 I started reading this book with caution.

There are so many older novels that simply got run over by new styles or trends. But do not be afraid, I can assure you that this is not the case with A Coming of Age. Timothy Zahn writes with a straight-forward matter-o-fact style that never gets old. His world building is so subtle than you don't even notice when and where he explained all that unknown customs and terms.

I can become overwhelmed if authors piles up all the data at the beginning of book or if he keeps bombarding me with unknown (invented) words. Sometimes, I can even give up reading the book altogether because of that. So this is a BIG plus for me.

When the Humans colonized planet Tigris, they never imagined that it would lead to genetic mutations that will trigger telekinetic powers in kids at the age of five. Or that those same powers will inexplicably disappear when children reach puberty.

Book: A Coming of Age by Timothy Zahn - Air Fighting
(alternate book cover from another edition)

When someone first mentions telekinesis my first association is moving and throwing objects around. But Timothy Zahn gives us a delightful new aspect to this ability - flying. Anybody else thinking about 'Peter Pan'? :)

Unfortunately (as we all know) children are usually the ultimate hedonists. The do not plan or think about the future - they only want to satisfy their current needs. So what will happen if that type of humans had the most power in society? And what would be solution to that?

In A Coming of Age, Timothy Zahn does not gives us a pretty picture of society. This is a great book for a book club to discuss possible alternatives and flaws in the structure Tigris' society is organised.

We are introduced to the world of planet Tigris through eyes of a couple of characters: Lisa Duncan (coming of age teen who is going to lose her telekinetic powers soon), Stanford Tirrell (quirky detective working on a child-kidnaping case), Dr. Matthew Jarvis (brilliant scientists) and Prophet Omega (shady leader of mysterious new cult).

Lisa Duncan from 'A Coming of Age' by Timothy Zahn
(alternate book cover from another edition)

Altough character building of others is not neglected, most attention is devoted to Lisa Duncan. When you read about her thoughts and fears, you read about the usual problems that coming of age teens meet: dealing with changes in your body and how the society and your friends will accept them.

You gotta like Lisa - she is smart, innovative, ambitious, inquisitive... And she is not afraid to break the rules. ;)

In the end, of course, all the plot lines untangle and all the characters clash together in an ultimate showdown. Yes, there is big aerial battle. ;)

This book has something for everybody. A little bit of mystery, coming of age teen problems, dystopian fiction about oppressive government and enough action and adventure to keep you interested until the end.

My Rating: 4 out of 5

I recommend this book to fans of: classic science fiction, quirky detectives, coming of age stories or speculative fiction about colonization of other planets.

Let's Talk:

Did you read this book? Some other book by the same author?
Did you ever/still want to know how to fly?
Any other thoughts or comments?

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