Rohsaan McInnes’ THE QUADRANTS is a really engaging YA Magical Realism story. It focuses on three teenagers, Rohan, Eve and Titus, who are classmates in an ordinary suburban school. Rohan and Eve are social outcasts and really only have each other as friends, and Titus is a muscle-bound thug, constantly mocking and bullying Titus.
Soon after Rohan’s sixteenth birthday, he starts getting stronger. An awful lot stronger. Alone, experimenting with his newfound strength, Titus catches Rohan. Titus is not surprised by Rohan’s strength and explains that he must be a Terrus, a person from the Quadrants with powers of the Earth. Titus reveals that he is an Ignus, with the power of flames. Rohan’s world is rocked to its core, and he is drawn to Titus, who is the only person who can explain to him what is happening to him, about the secret world to which he belongs.
Unfortunately, Titus doesn’t have much time to explain, because trackers from the Quadrants have detected Rohan’s use of power, and hunt him down, thinking he might be the mysterious Ashgrove Demidium, the child of a mixed-power family who fled the Quadrants. It was forbidden for people from the different Quadrants (Ignus, Terra, Aeris and Aquis) to copulate, as their children will likely have more than one power. With their friend’s life on the line, Eve and Titus join forces to protect their friend.
What I was done really well in THE QUADRANTS was the changing relationships between the characters. Of course, having characters change from friends to enemies or enemies to friends as a story progresses is not something unique to this book, but McInnes’ skilful writing made it feel believable and drew you in further to the plight of her characters. The main characters Eve, Rohan and Titus were all wonderful and strongly written, and as the story progresses the perspective switches between them.
The two criticisms I have is that the perspective shifts felt somewhat out of balance with the first part of the book dominated by one character, and the rest of the book focusing on two other characters. It’s a minor thing, I guess. The other is that people from the Quadrants are meant to be incredibly rare in our world, yet pretty much every character in the story has some power or other. I would have loved it if more characters were human, if one of Rohan’s friends didn’t have any powers but was still drawn into the quest to rescue him, and despite having no powers was still able to help.
All in all, THE QUADRANTS is a thoroughly enjoyable story Magical Realism story, so if you’re all about real-world teens with superpowers, and want to try something a little different, I strongly recommend this book! Get a copy here!
The sequel – THE DEMIDIUM – will hopefully be published soon, I can’t wait to get into that and see what happens and find out who really is the Ashgrove Demidium, and what happens to the wonderful characters!
- Originally published November 2019