Wednesday 24 September 2014

The Astrologer’s Daughter

The Astrologer’s Daughter by Rebecca Lim (Text Publishing)
PB RRP $19.99
ISBN 9781922182005
Reviewed by Wendy Fitzgerald 

Melbourne based lawyer Rebecca Lim is the author of 14 books for kids and Young Adults. Her Mercy series involves the main character as an angel. Her Total Girl books are for younger readers about fashion and friends. This book, The Astrologer’s Daughter came out in July 2014. It follows a theme of astrology in a tangle of genres- mystery, thriller, adventure and love.

Lim cleverly drops us into the streets of China Town in inner city Melbourne - into the life of young Avicenna Crowe who is alone in a tiny apartment after her mother, Joanne mysteriously vanishes. We learn that Avicenna and her mother have moved around a lot and that Joanne had been stalked in the past. One side of Avicenna’s face is scarred from a house fire. Her father died in that fire. 

Just like her mother, Avicenna has the gift of reading the past, present and future. They are not really fortune tellers and they are not strictly psychics. They use astrology- a method that’s based on plotting a client’s birth information on a circular chart a bit like a clock face. 

‘Twelve houses, two-hour intervals with midnight at the cusp of the fourth house, noon at the cusp of the tenth…. Fill the interior with a map of the heavens as it was at the exact time, date and place of birth…’

I found the explanations of this process interesting but, to be honest, beyond my understanding. The police investigating Joanne’s disappearance are also sceptical of this gift and suspect foul play leaving young Avicenna desperate to find her own answers.

She decides to read the charts for her mother’s clients and conduct her own investigation. Her search takes her into dangerous territory- some unsavoury people and desperate clients all linked to the violent unsolved murder of a young girl.

Throw in a love triangle between Avicenna, her school friend Simon Thorn and a rich, handsome client and you have a compelling story with a thrilling, action packed plot. You will need to read the book to find how Lim expertly weaves all these elements together.  I would recommend it to kids 14 years and over.

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