Thursday, March 24, 2011
Ada Legend of A Healer by R. A. McDonald
No sickness, No injuries, No pain, No limits.
If you had the power to heal, what would you do?
For fifteen-year-old Ada discovering that she can heal feels more like a curse than a gift. When she learns of the mystery surrounding her mother's disappearance, and sees the indifference of so-called friends, she sets out for Paris to find her.
The power to heal protects her, but also has her hunted by a man who sees her as nothing more than his fountain of youth. Ada realizes her true power is her will to survive, and that her only chance at freedom is to become the best at escaping.
Ada hasn't grown up in a house with a white picket fence. Instead she was cast off and absorbed into the foster care system, quickly putting up a shield of hostility. Always knowledgeable of the sicknesses of those around her and never getting hurt just seemed like facts of life. Finally on her last strike of trouble, an estranged aunt comes to the rescue, giving Ada the knowledge of how to use her healing power. Now Ada, who up to this point has shunned the world, all of the sudden has the power to heal it.
This book delves into the psychology and growth of a teenage girl coming to grips with the knowledge that there are some good people out there; some people worth healing.
Along with action and adventure, Ada, Legend of a Healer also brings to light numerous philosophical issues. Like many middle and high school girls, Ada is introduced to society's harsh realities at a young age, so she's built a wall of anger to strengthen her self reliance, to survive. Despite the pressure and demands, Ada refuses to sacrifice her self-worth, and in this she discovers that a strong will overcomes all obstacles.
I was asked, "why the questions at the back of the book?"
My answer: Because Girls Like to Think. R.A. McDonald (Picture and Summary taken from Good Reads).
I was given this book for review from the publisher House of Lore Publishing. This in no way influenced my opinion of this novel.
Well, this novel had a little bit of everything in it and left me with some questions that I was a little uncomfortable with answering. Actually I couldn't answer them. It starts out ordinary enough with Ada in yet another foster home with the typical portrayal of two unfit foster parents. Ada has done something outrageous to get herself out of a bad situation and the social worker is once again sighing and taking her to the house where she waits until she gets a new place to live. This time is different though. They finally reach her Aunt Jessie who takes her away and things get really strange from there.
Ada has always had the ability to heal things. She's known it and it's made her stay away from people and be the weirdo. She was left by her mother as a baby with Jessie and for some reason, Jessie put her in the foster care system and because of Ada's antics, not entirely her own fault, she's bounced around a lot. But with Jessie, she learns people want her for her power to heal and will go to any lengths to get her. Jessie has the power to heal as well and they're after her too. There are a lot of chase scenes and separation of Ada and Jessie. But the real power of the story lies in the difference in beliefs between the two. Jessie believes the power to heal is a gift and it's her duty to heal the sick. Ada believes it's almost a curse and that the sick are sick for a reason and that if she heals them, then the Earth will be over populated. As they discuss this at a safe place with a professor who sides with Jessie and they discuss Ada's mother, Ada decides she needs to find her mother. So, in the middle of the night, she runs away.
Over the course of a few weeks, Ada gets her passport and heads to the airport for Paris, the last place anyone has seen her mother. She's wise about getting through security being fifteen and without an adult then meets someone who helps her to learn French and takes her under her wing. Ada has healed a few people out of desire before she left and while she lives with this woman she heals her too. But it's dangerous to heal too many and people come looking for Ada. She escapes and stays with a friend.
She makes friends with kids her own age in Paris and they practice something called "Parkour" where they run for hours, scaling walls and stairs, jumping over things, jumping from building to building, you name it they climb it, jump it, scale it. The first day she's with them she runs for five hours through Paris and doesn't even get tired, but that's because her body heals itself. Through several weeks she and Daniel get closer and they along with their two other Parkour friends Florien (male) and Elaine help her look for her mother.
Running throughout the novel is the underlying fact that Ada is not safe anywhere and neither is anyone close to her. She's always in danger of being caught and the people that want her will use any means to get what they want. I also forgot to mention that some of the people that want her are for their own gain, health and money, making sure only those that can afford it get healed. She isn't free. But she is free in who she uses her healing powers on. And she wants to keep that freedom.
At the end of the novel, which ends with the definite conclusion that there will be sequels, there are questions to consider and a request to answer them on the website http://www.adaslegend.com/ . I looked through them. They are incredibly thought provoking and some, I just couldn't answer. Here's a tough one- Should the betterment of humanity be considered more important than the rights of an individual? Now take a moment to consider- she can heal cancer, paraplegics, diabetes, broken necks, bring people back from the brink of death. She can touch someone and know what's wrong and how to heal them. Should she be forced to do that if she doesn't want to? Put yourself in that position.
I really enjoyed the story in this book. It was interesting, the depths to which Ada thought about what she could do and the thought she put into whether or not to heal someone was of great importance. It's a character driven novel, but there is plenty of action. Parkour is indeed real as described by Wikipedia-
"it is a utilitarian discipline based upon the successful, swift and energy-efficient traversing of one's surrounding environment via the practical application of techniques, based around the concept of self-preservation and the ability to help others." There was a lot of thought and detail in the book, but not too much. There are also a few black and white illustrations in it, some hard to see, others very clear in detail. The final page shows a glowing Ada with the words "THE LEGEND CONTINUES".
So, you want a little thinking with your reading, Ada, Legend of a Healer is the book for you. Want a great story with a little romance, a lot of action and a well thought out plot and main character? Ada, Legend of a Healer is the book for you. It's both and you can take it either way, think about the implications (I found it hard not to) or just read it as a story. I of course left quite a bit out. Didn't want to give away the surprises. But it's a quick read, unless you pause to consider and then you may get stuck for days. This novel could be rewritten with Jessie and Ada thinking opposite ways and it would be a whole new story. So many possibilities. If you answer the questions in the back of the book, give me a shout. I'd like to know.
Heather in Sandwich