Title: The Astrologer’s Daughter
Author: Rebecca Lim
Release Date: 23rd July 2015
Is anything ever written in the stars? And if it was, would you believe it?
The Astrologer’s Daughter asks you all these questions as it dives in at the deep end with the protagonist, Avicenna Crowe, calling the police from her cramped and downtrodden apartment, to report her own mother as a missing person. Avicenna’s mother, Joanne, is – yep, you guessed it! – an astrologer. Joanne studies her clients star charts and has the ability to read their fortune. She can tell you whether you’ll ever make money, get married, have children, get divorced, and when and how you’ll die. And she’s never, ever wrong.
The interesting thing about this novel is that we never actually meet Joanne, and yet the entire storyline is about this woman. Therefore, Rebecca Lim gives herself the difficult job of selling a character to an audience without ever having a scene with them in. Lim manages this, as you might imagine, through memories and flashbacks via Avicenna. Without Joanne, her customers need answers about their futures, and it falls to Avicenna to provide them, whilst also trying to figure out what has happened to her mother.
As she begins to dig into her mother’s life, she finds things that throw her life, as she has always known it, into question. Her mother has lied to her about events in her past, and Avicenna thinks she saw something in her stars that gave her reason to be afraid. But why did she not avoid it, if she knew it was coming?
It’s been a while since I’ve read a young adult novel, and it took me a few chapters to take a liking to Avicenna. Overall, she has a strong personality, and although she’s only eighteen, must learn to be alone in the absence of her mother. I love a good mystery book, and this element of the novel will appeal to the young adult audience, as will the blossoming romance between Avicenna and her classmate, Simon.
Simon is another mystery. Avicenna judges him and writes him off as the popular guy at school, but of course there’s more to him than meets the eye. He’s smart and challenges Avicenna, who isn’t so bad herself, but why does he always have fresh cuts on his face? And why is he always hanging around her when she clearly just wants to be left alone?
For me, it is the ending that lets the book down. Without giving away any spoilers, the novel feels… incomplete. This would make sense if there is to be a second instalment, but I’m not sure that there will be one. And if there is, I have a long wait to find answers to my questions.