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Reviewed by Cassie Widjaja for Readers' Favorite
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!