Tania Westing, a high school senior, is one of the Gifted Ones, descendants of an ancient family with seven special powers. Some of the powers are common, and some are rare.
Until her geneticist brother Tom was murdered, Tania lived an ordinary life. Now hidden in her mind is a clue that will reveal Tom’s research, including secret formulas to unlock all seven powers. During spring break, Tania meets and falls in love with handsome Dan Maclean. When Tania reveals her rare power to heal, the evil Gifted Ones who killed Tom suspect Tania has his research and formulas and come after her. Tania must learn to use her powers to help save Dan’s sister in time to keep Tom’s secrets safe.
I was so disappointed by this book that I cannot even begin to properly explain it. When I first started reading The Sixth Power, I admit that I had no clue what I’m walking into, just that it involves super powers and genetic research. We all know how many books/comics, both good and bad, have attempted that kind of plot recipe before with a myriad of varying results, so I was wondering what would make this book stand out from the rest.
Nothing made this book stand out. In fact, I can name a handful of things that makes it sink under. First off, the writing. I’ve read better, I’ve read worse, but this one is just not good enough. Writing is kind of a tough industry to infiltrate, knowing that there are a lot of brilliant and promising authors out there vying for the readers’ attention, so for an author to stand above the rest, they should be able to compete in terms of prose-quality. I’m not saying that Nicolas’ writing is bad, because it was okay. And that’s exactly the issue. It’s just ‘okay’.
The characters of this book also failed to impress me. We should begin with Tania Westing, after all, she is our main character. Tania is just a normal teenager with an abnormal amount of tragedy in her life. First, her mother dies, causing her father to fall into depression and social withdrawal. And then his geneticist brother commits suicide for no apparent reason. It’s really hard not to feel sympathetic about Tania, and I did at the very start. But as the story progresses, I could not help but notice her utter lack of self-preservation, which is odd for a girl who has gone through as much suffering as she did. She literally pore her heart out to Dan the moment they were alone without even much effort on his part. And then she pitches herself heart-first into the love cliff with shameless abandon within a few days of meeting him. Talk about mind-numbing events.
My problem with Tania’s personality does not even come close with my problem with ALL the characters in general. You know how sometimes when you read a book with a mediocre plot but you can’t seem to put it down because you started to care deeply for the characters? Yeah, that did not happen in this case because I felt absolutely nothing for any character in this book, except maybe some slight irritation. Everyone, from Tania to the Maclean Siblings, to El Calavera – they all seemed dull to me. It would have been good if I liked them, and it would have been bad if I hated them, but I was indifferent to them, which was worse. Not that I didn’t understand any of their collective or individual issues, because I did. It’s just that they lacked personality and were too two-dimensional for my taste, thus you can only imagine how difficult it was for me not to drop this book in the middle of reading.
Did I mention that this book also features a love story? Yes I did! Another case of insta-love with no chemistry involved at all. Allow me to just set this straight once and for all: there are rare cases where insta-love works because somehow, the author manages to conjure enough spark to keep the love story aflame, but these instances are the exceptions, not the rule. That’s why I can’t understand why authors continue to shower us with insta-romances when we clearly do not want them that much. As readers, we need foundation, we need that slow, impossible torture of watching two people fall in-love while they deny it, and that crippling agony of anticipation as we yell at them to just kiss already. You’re not going to find anything like that in The Sixth Power. Dan and Tania’s love story seemed too hurried to me. There was no build-up and no magic. Also, the storyline where both characters didn’t have anyone for a long time before they met each other and suddenly they feel the need to be together is getting REALLY OLD. Someone needs to figure out something new already.
Another thing is that this book’s narrative tends to be dragging at times. For someone who is used to fast-paced stories, I found myself not adjusting very well with the slow-moving plot. In my opinion, the author failed to provide minor plotlines that managed to hold my interest as I wait for the main plot to be revealed. Some dialogs also bordered on preachy and annoying, which did not sit well with me.
I gave this book 2 out of 5 coconuts because I thought that this is one of those ‘could-have-beens’. Could have been better if the plot was well cultivated, because I honestly think that there’s some promise behind the author’s idea. Could have been better if the author invested more, way more, in character development. Could have been better if the romance wasn’t an insta-love. All in all, could have been better but just isn’t. I realize that I’m the only person in Goodreads to give The Sixth Power a low rating, but keep in mind that I’m not trying to be rude or offensive, just honest and impartial. Some people might like this book, I guess, as evidenced by it’s 4.12 GR ratings. Sad to say, I’m not one of them.