The Pentrals by Crystal MackBook The Pentrals
Published by Apologue Entertainment LLC on November 12th 2013
Finished copy from Publisher
Purchase on Amazon・The Book Depository
Picture your life without free will.
No choice. No voice. No personal direction.
For 17 years, it's the only path I've known. Always a follower, never in control, I am an afterthought, burying my impulses as I bend to the whims of another. I dream of someone taking notice-of falling in love and being kissed. But I probably never will.
My name is Antares. I am a Shadow.
What would it feel like to be a mere shadow? In reality, I’ve never given my shadow a slight thought before but having read The Pentrals’ plot had me more than just a little curious. Yet after finishing the book, I realized that the story wasn’t just about shadows. It had so much more to offer and I was pleasantly surprised by how much I innately liked this one of a kind book.
The people of Talline, a city of glass and mirrors, don’t know it, but their every move is being watched, followed and imitated. The Pentrals, consisting of Shadows and Reflections in a certain hierarchy, are each assigned a person they need to silhouette. Antares, a Class 2 shadow, has been stuck to ground for the longest time, miming the actions of her person, Violet. Living a life where light and darkness determine her very being, Antares has longed for a life beyond the monotony of being a Pentral. That is until Antares discovers for herself that being a person isn’t as easy as she imagined, especially when other forces are manipulating your own perceptions.
Antares was a pretty good main character. I don’t know about you but connecting to a shadow or someone who’s been one for most of her life is pretty hard. Still, I found myself nodding along to Antares’ introspections several times. She was easily likeable and her interesting voice kept me attentive towards the narration. Having said that, there was a point where I felt the book was a bit dragging. I wanted more world building and I craved to go beyond the surface of the characters. I also wished for more participation on Violet’s side of things. These aren’t major issues, just some of my small apprehensions. Anyway, I feel these could be resolved in time, hopefully in the second book.
The aspects I very much appreciated and loved outweighed the trepidations I had with the book. First of all, I just really liked how unique The Pentrals world was, especially the class system of Shadows and Reflections. I welcomed the thought of this futuristic, fantasy setting quickly which was why I wanted to know more about it in the first place. Secondly, I liked the way it felt mysterious and intriguing but not complicated. Questions arise quickly and some have pretty evident answers but most are layered with enigma. Another thing I liked- the way the author used metaphors and buried meanings. The way Crystal Mack explored the reality of self-worth in relation to what we see in the mirrors was bewilderingly remarkable. It was obvious that the author put a lot of thought in her work and I really admired her clever writing. Also, I loved Ben and the way his character carried off. I actually didn’t think I’d like him so much the first time I encountered him in the story, but he then completely transformed into someone I am possibly having a fictional crush on.
The Pentrals was a great read. A mix of creative and perceptive, this is a book to look out for. I can’t wait for the sequel!