In teen author K. Dai’s debut fantasy novel, four teenagers discover they are gifted with supernatural powers and must face a master villain in order to save the world.
The teens have varied backgrounds: Alix is an orphan; Dent is mute; Torre is a privileged, popular girl; and Jase is a handsome athlete. Each encounters a magic wolf, who tells them they are sorcerers. They must solve a riddle to discover their true power and join the Four Hearts Club.
Established by powerful magic, the Four Hearts Club was created years ago to fight Jack Phillius, a man whose cruelty and power threaten the world. Where previous versions of the Four Hearts Club have failed, the four newest members hope they can unite their magic to defeat Jack’s evil plan.
As the team comes together, each character must find his/her individual “Clarity,” or magical power. There is little time, however, as the threat from the monstrous mage is imminent. The teens must learn to control their powers as they befriend dragons, fight monsters, and battle against Jack to save the world.
Clarity is an action-packed, ambitious first novel. Told from the alternating points of view of the four teens, the narrative is richly imagined and exciting. Each scene races into the next, through battles, magic, and dragon taming, at break-neck speed. However, the frenzied pace is confusing at times, especially as the teens are first discovering their Clarities and coming together as a team.
The alternating points of view are also disorienting. Although Dai is a strong writer, she hasn’t mastered the story’s four separate voices. Without clear distinction, it’s difficult to track who is leading the narrative.
The flaws in Clarity are common to young writers and could be overcome with editorial guidance. That said, Dai’s ambitious storytelling and bright imagination have a great deal of potential and make Clarity an entertaining, if imperfect, read.