Proud to be a tea-sippin' nerd of a mommy!
Proud to be a tea-sippin' nerd of a mommy!

A Vision of Fire

by Gillian Anderson, Jeff Rovin

Renowned child psychologist Caitlin O’Hara is a single mom trying to juggle her job, her son, and a lackluster dating life. Her world is suddenly upturned when Maanik, the daughter of India’s ambassador to the United Nations, starts speaking in tongues and having violent visions.

** Review contains spoilers ** 

Child psychologist and single mom of a hearing-impaired son is the center of the story, Dr. Caitlin O’Hara. She is more or less believable as a caring scientist forced to accept increasingly unlikely explanations, but she’s somewhat two-dimensional, doesn’t have much of a history, and isn’t very well fleshed out. You get a hint that there’s something in her background that predisposes her to the otherworldly aspects affecting the other characters of this book, but it’s never narrated which is a disappointment since I found it hard to believe that the character would so easily strap herself to the “transpersonality” dimensions (I think it was called that). 

The background of Dr. O’Hara would have added a lot to make the visions and O’Hara’s involvement in the “beyond space and time” world believable. Let’s face it, most readers are picturing Agent Scully as Dr. O’Hara. She’s a driven, smart, intelligent, rational professional character that Ms. Anderson played, and we fans loved, for so many years. But there was very little development, and the lack of depth for Dr. O’Hara brought down the storyline. The main character was not an anchor for the plotline for readers to connect with. She’s suddenly having these self-induced trips to an ancient world and tapping into unseen spiritual energies (after one conversation with a Hindu priest and an encounter with a Voodoo shaman lady) to change the past thus “saving the future.” Not really something readers can connect with because it just sort of happens. There is not a lot of exploring of this “supernatural power” beforehand. On a plane, she telepathically connects with one of her patients. Then she takes on a gigantic group of souls and breaks them apart using her mind and by tapping into a cornerstone she offhandedly notices in the ancient city. Dr. O’Hara seems to take an X-Files season 7 leap in terms of believing the weird while she’s still in season 1. And while I do not mind this type of leap, the transitions to it were poor. 

I love plotlines about ancient secrets no one's discovered. For this story, its Galderkhaan. And while I found the book to be a page turner, there were too many disconnecting elements all at once, and the story never really resolved itself. I kept thinking, “this is going to be really cool when it all wraps up,” but it never truly wraps up. The connection between the Vikings and Mongolians never believably came to fruition. And in terms of the ancient city: sounds awesome, however, the plot did not spend enough time in it to explain the “soul snatching” elements of the book. Why were these people stealing souls? What is the problem with their method of joining together? Why is an ancient Antarctic society affecting people in the Northern Hemisphere? Oh wait… there was this artifact a shadowy society called “the Group” stole in the prologue. Well, this feels more like a backstory that intrudes on the main characters’ plot. There needed to be more connections with both plot threads. I get that the souls are connected to the element, etc., however, elements did not connect. Why does the artifact melt a guy’s brains? What is the artifact made of? 

The epilogue hits you like a slap the face which when it ends makes you yell in frustration… THAT’S WHERE YOU END IT? The epilogue really should have been worked in earlier in the story. Then there would have been a modern-day search for this ancient lost society while Dr. O’Hara is dealing with the psychological effects. That would have lent a lot of time to explore this other society and its beliefs – writing opportunity lost!

Questions not answered: (1) How did Caitlin know to do what she did? and (2) Why did it work? Actually, lots of “whys?” were not answered (a few mentioned above). And while I like exploring the mysteries of ancient civilizations, I am not a fan of explaining these mysteries away via alien intervention. I certainly hope there is more to it than that in book 2. I will probably read book 2. I want to discover more of this ancient world and its connection to the present. However, I expect a lot more answers and character development. This book should have been longer especially in terms of the main character’s backstory. 

This book is very similar to The Atlantis Gene (The Origin Mystery #1), however, that book connects the dots a lot better while also leaving you anticipating book 2. 

Lastly, why does everyone only drink Jasmine tea? There are so many more flavors of tea out there! But everyone from all different cultures seems to only drink the Jasmine variety.

My novels:

"Descendants of Avalon" 

Released via Inklings Publishing 

May 2018

"Heir of the Heretic"

("The Forgotten" volume 2)

Reviewed and awarded the

2016 Indie Editor's Choice

by the Historical Novel Society.

Long listed for the Historical Novel Society 2017 Indie Award.

Reviewer for:

Historical Novel Society Volunteer

NetGalley Professional Reader

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