This book review is my own personal opinion and one that I was not paid for, instead I was allowed a free copy of the book for the review. I am by no means a professional book reviewer, I just enjoy a good read.
The Lightbearers by Nora M. Garcia is a captivating novel that brings the reader into the plot right away. The action starts with a sinister plot that the reader doesn't quite have a full grasp on, except that we know that an evil scientist, Dr. Natas is involved. The protagonist, Jean Crystal and her husband George are determined to foil Dr. Natas' evil plans but Garcia's story works within the difficult circumstances of society. Dr. Natas has created a cyber school run completely by robots and with a target of elementary school children. Promising parents that their children will not only develop faster than other children their age but be certified geniuses, Dr. Natas' test schools thrive, much to the dismay of Jean and her husband. What's not quite explained right away is that Jean is able to transcend from her body through extreme meditation. Instead, the reader is introduced through various descriptions of Jean leaving her physical state, which is an interesting and incredibly curious concept within itself. Within a few chapters in, the background story is covered where King Akhenaton and Nefertiti, Egyptian royalty, are invited to be Lightbearers. Lightbearers are guardians of the human race and to enlighten any whose path they cross. Through reincarnation, during each of their lifetimes, they strive to overcome violence, greed and injustice and in each lifetime they leave individuals with whom they have shared their secrets of life and death and to carry on the mission (from the Goodreads synopsis). It's quite good stuff. Readers will cheer on Jean and George as they figure out how to save the world from the dark plans of Dr. Natas.
I liked this book right away and the thing about book reviews of lesser known books is that it can always be a toss up. However, Garcia has an incredible imagination and a power for storytelling. One of my critiques with this is that sometimes she tried to tell too much in too little of space. Jean's ability to transcend her physical state wasn't explained much later and so the reader is left to question if Jean is a spy or a government work, etc. Jean is a teacher who cares about human compassion and understanding human needs. She's also a Lightbearer. I think it was an interesting format for the story to start right away and then give some background to it, but I also think it would have been great to have those chapters serve as a prologue. Garcia spent a lot of time explaining that concept, which as the reader, was much appreciated. The aspect of Lightbearers being able to meditate so deeply that they could leave their physical bodies to reincarnate was pretty cool and added such dimension to the story. I felt like I was watching a movie as I read through the book.
Some of the characters were introduced really quickly and then cut out a little too soon. In order to get to the next major concept, I felt like Garcia rushed certain aspects and relationships with characters. In one chapter, there was a focus on Jean and George's previous life in which they were a French family and it provided more background information on being a Lightbearer but had little to do with the plot. Dr. Natas' bond with his new son was also an important relationship but I also felt that his marriage was awkwardly intertwined throughout the last chapters. I could see the importance of covering how unsociable this man was and how negative that can impact a society, especially when it comes to creating schools based on this mentality, however it just felt awkward to me.
Overall I would give this book 4 out of 5 stars. I really liked the story and it's one that grabs your imagination and runs with it. I would love to see this made into a movie, but it would definitely need finetuning. There's a lot of action and great characters, plus it will make the reader wish they were a lightbearer.