Sunday, April 24, 2011

Pilgrennon's Beacon by Manda Benson

“Freak” It is a word Dana hears often at school. But what is it that makes Abigail consistently go out of her way to bully and hurt her. Using her ability to make technology work for her just by thought, she finally finds sanctuary in Pauline and Graeme’s rambling home. Her brother Cale ignores her as is his wont but she knows he understands and cares about her. He too is autistic, and she has to suppose that this difference in her is what draws Abigail’s ire.

Because of the constant bullying at school she hates it, and it extremely uncomfortable going. To make it even worse this time she has closed herself in the bathroom, and when Abigail finally gets in, a tremendous fight breaks out. Dana holds her own and actually smashes Abigail’s nose in the process, but as she falls backwards, she loses her balances and smashes her head on the porcelain. The next thing she remembers it being in the hospital having x-rays taken of her head. She is not afraid of the hospital, the machines and their interface’s sooth her, but when the x-rays show a piece of metal in her head, all of a sudden her life begins to change.

Trying to get away, feeling for the first time like the freak she is, she sneaks out of the hospital only to be found by a woman who claims to know about her, named Jananin. She knows about her abilities, and actually claims to be her mother. Convincing Dana that she can help her, she tells Dana stories about her own past. She also gives Dana a rendition of how she came to be. Ivor Pilgrennon features heavily in the story, and as the tale continues, Jananin includes her own plans to use Dana to destroy him.

As Dana is drawn into the scheme and finds Ivor, she finds him to be everything that is opposite of what Jananine suggests. Not wanting Ivor to know of her duplicity she nevertheless hangs around and finds a comfort that she has been missing. Ivor has realized the damage he caused in his youth and is doing what he could to reverse the damage.

Using Jananine’s computer Dana finds an interesting game called Cerberus to keep her occupied while on Igor’s island. Somehow, this game is the center of everything that is wrong in the country and once Cerberus realizes Dana is somehow able to react in ways it does not understand she then becomes a threat to its existence. Now not only is Dana in jeopardy but everything and everyone she holds dear is no longer safe. She has become the Pandora of modern times and released an evil, which is unrelenting. Can she stop it before it is too late? She is unable to undo what she has done. Will she be able to stop the consequences? Can Jananine and Igor come together in time to help Dana before it is too late?

In Pilgrennon’s Beacon, by Manda Benson we meet an unusual cast of characters. Dana is a young girl, autistic in nature but with extra abilities added through early experimentation by Pilgrennon. She is a product of some genetic splicing as well as the plate being added, which gives her the capability to speak with computers of all kinds. She can work with cell phones, GPSs, and Satellites to name a few. It is interesting to watch the interaction. This also brings her added attention, which at her age in school makes her a freak. This too weighs heavily on her. She is drawn into a life unlike anything she has ever known, and she has to change her concept of reality.

Igor Pilgrennon and Jananine are like an old married couple who hate each other, and yet also find they must work together to save the world from a technological menace. They are a great foil and bring a balance to the story.

This is a fun and fast-paced story, and if you or your child enjoy science fiction, it will be right up your alley. Well written, the characters are strong, and it is easy to visualize the scenes as they progress. This would make an interesting book for a reading group with many things to discuss.

Rating 4/5
Pilgrennon's Beacon

This book was received as a free copy from the author. All opinions are my own based off my reading and understanding of the information.

1 comment:

Manda said...

Thanks very much for your review, Leslie. Glad you enjoyed the book. :-)