Alyzon Whitestarr Review

Alyzon Whitestarr
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Alyzon Whitestarr (2005) is a standalone SF novel. It is probably set in contemporary Australia somewhere along the coastline.
In this novel, Alyzon Whitestarr is the middle kid among five children. Unlike the others, Alyzon has no special attributes.
Zambia Whitestarr is the mother of Alyzon and her siblings. She is an artist, although not wellknown.
Macoll Whitestarr is the father of Alyzon and her siblings. Mac is the lead guitarist for Losing the Rope, a local band.
Jesse Whitestarr is the eldest child. He plays a blues guitar in the bathroom and thinks deep thoughts.
Mirandah is the second child. She plays the saxophone. She loves Ricki, but has frequent lover's spats. Maybe that has something to do with her lack of tact.
Serenity is the fourth child. She plays the cello. Lately she has been telling people to call her Sybl. She has also adopted black as her color, but isn't into goth.
Luke is the baby. He is only a few months old, but has a very calm disposition.
Gilly Roundtree is a classmate of Alyzon. Her mother travels a lot, so she lives with her grandmother.
In this story, Alyzon has an accident. A car hatch closes on her head and she gets a concussion. She also has enhanced perceptions and a bit of synesthesia. She notices that everybody has a consistent scent that differs between individuals. She begins to believe that these scents are indicative of their character.
Some people have rotten scents, literally smelling like garbage or other foul stuff. She first notices such a smell from a Dr. Austin at the hospital. Then she smells such an odor from Harlen Sanderson, a widely admired guy in her school.
She also smells transient scents that seem to indicate various moods. Yet these scents differ among individuals. Her Da has an ammoniac scent when he is upset.
Her doctor tells Alyzon that the stronger perceptions will fade away, but they continue for a long while. Alyzon develops mental tricks to shield her from these strong sensations. Mathematics seems to work the best in reducing these effects.
She finds that she can communicate with animals through scents. Wombat -- the family cat -- begins to have long sessions with her. She also makes strong impressions on other animals.
When Alyzon returns to school, she finds that these scents change her feelings for some persons. Her English teacher -- Mrs. Barker -- smells as great as Alyzon expected and Gilly becomes her best friend. But Alyzon tries her best to avoid Harlen.
Alyzon begins to worry about her sister Serenity. Normally she has a violet scent, but her Sybl persona has a licorice odor. She also sounds paranoid, asking if Alyzon is following her.
This tale introduces Alyzon to friends of Gilly, who become her friends as well. They discover that Serenity is meeting with a poetry group at the library, but this group seems to have gang connections. Alyzon also meets Davey, a sweet man with an unseen companion named Simon.
This story has a scientific rationale behind the enhanced perceptions and the evil scents, but the storyline reads more like a dark fantasy. The disease that causes the sickening scents appears to amplify the Id, the least civilized part of the mind. Then it drives these sick individuals to spread the infection.
Highly recommended for Carmody fans and for anyone else who enjoys tales of strange powers, evil influences, and young heroines.
-Arthur W. Jordin

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