5-stars for ‘The Avatar Syndrome,’ by Stan I. S. Law
‘Profound and inspiring!’
The Avatar Syndrome, by Stan I. S. Law, is a profound, inspiring and thoroughly engaging read. It was crafted with a masterful touch one seldom finds in a world so inundated with amateur literary installments.
It shines with authority without reading as intentionally authoritative. Its modestly pedantic narrative is delivered with care and authenticity making it easily consumable – the pedantry rendered unobtrusive and often unnoticeable. It explores neuroscience and advanced medical procedures without reading like a textbook or academic thesis.
And, it intrigues and entertains.
But, why did I find it so thought-provoking and demanding that I not skim through chapters with the interest of delivering a quick review? Because, the author wrote one of those rare stories that is as challenging intellectually as it is engaging. One in which the drama is demanding of your focus and the inferences are abundant commanding you to think; “What is the writer saying here – besides what he’s saying?”
I love books that challenge my intellect in this way – make me think on a deeper level – force me to read between the lines and extract the writer’s philosophy, possible guidance and warnings.
The Avatar Syndrome did this for me and more. It kept me thinking of specific passages long after I’d put it down and went about my day. It inspired questions that were potentially unanswerable but prompting a determinative debate. And it offered me a glimpse into the writer’s nearly virtuous imagination and industrious literary talents.
Few books I’ve read in recent days have had such a profound effect on me. I can honestly say, without hesitation; this is a book I WILL read again.
The Avatar Syndrome reads, in many ways, like a mystery with each chapter delivering additional pieces to an incipient puzzle.
For this reason, I have chosen to avoid synopsizing the story with any detail but will offer a broad, imprecise overview of the story premise.
A girl has a neurological disorder that deprives her of what we would call normalcy but ultimately awards her with something akin to “superior normalcy.” (The clever distinction here between an abnormal insinuation and superior normalcy was, I am certain, intended – and worthy of yet another debate.) Analysing her, diagnosing her and helping her become the easily recognizable story conflict which places hardship on her and parents and grants frustration but also enlightenment to the medical professionals involved.
The progression is laudable in many ways, and the science, specifically neuroscience, is used with competent frugality. It’s also colloquialized and casualised with care. No one, regardless of their reading level, should experience difficulty reading Mr Law’s indomitable investigation into the potential resources and capabilities of the human mind.
What I liked most:
I love a good mystery and have often said, casually or in a class setting, that mystery drives story. Possibly as much as, if not more so, than conflict. Stan I. S. Law presents compounding mysteries in this book that compel you to continue turning pages even when responsibilities call.
Law’s characters are diligently well-developed. They possess germane weaknesses as well as strengths and change as the story progresses. Without change or growth, flaws and weaknesses, the characters can be two-dimensional and unreal.
We like flawed characters and rally for them as they change and grow from the decisions they’re forced to make and from their interactions with other characters.
If this story were not as powerfully written or had neglected the inclusion of believable characters and a captivating plot, I would proclaim the author’s success based solely on the insertion of carefully articulated science meant to buttress the story’s authenticity.
I find neuroscience fascinating and have used it as a device in my own novels and screenplays. I believe this to be a fascination Mr Law and I share.
A clear through-line:
I read many books and often question why an author has forgotten one fundamental requirement of good storytelling. The presenting of a clear through-line; a hero or heroine who wants something and must conquer obstacles to get it.
It can be a romantic interest, avenging a murder, solving a crime, defeating a powerful adversarial agent or simply a quest to learn the truth about something elusive.
The author of The Avatar Syndrome handled this beautifully; never taking us away from the main story; the hero’s journey. There was never a moment in this book when I had to stop and ask myself: ‘Why am I in this scene?’ or ‘What does this have to do with the main character’s plight or the plight of those on a mission to solve the riddle of her anomalous behaviours – and progressing phenomenal abilities?’
For this reason alone, Stan I. S. Law has earned my praise as a writer and storyteller.
I have none. This is a beautiful, well-written story I would recommend to anyone with a desire to read something which is as entertaining as it is compelling. I honestly, from the very first chapter, could not put this book down.
Summary and recommendation:
The Avatar Syndrome, by Stan I. S. Law, is a meaningful story filled with strong themes and likable characters. The writing is crisp, the goals are clear, and the author is gifted with immeasurable literary talents which he uses efficiently and effectively.
I give The Avatar Syndrome 5-stars and my highest recommendation for readers at a high school reading level or above.
Review by: T. E. Mark – Writer / Screenwriter