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on a planet called Nova Campi far from Earth.
Nova Campi was where the blinders lived. The blinders were people who once inhabited Earth. They were singled out because they were
different. On Nova Campi, they lived in
a section called Harmony. Harmony was
surrounded by sounding devices that wailed when someone tried to go past
them. They were there to keep the
inhabitants of Harmony under the control of the Council. Everyone wore devices that would identify
their location to the listeners who were guards chosen by the council. The heads of council, who saw seers as
deceptive, corrupt and evil, were the founders of Harmony. The seers were people from Earth who came to
Nova Campi with supplies when Harmony could not produce enough food.
The people of Harmony were people without sight and were taught
that this was true sight. They were
told that Truesight meant blindness was Purity, Unity and Freedom. Generations there after were born and
genetically altered without sight. They
obeyed all rules and regulations, which were set up by the Council and enforced
by the listeners. They moved and lived
in harmony; at least everyone thought they did. The council was a powerful body who made decisions for everyone
Jacob is the main character in the story. He was about to turn thirteen. When children turned thirteen in Harmony,
the council decides what specialization they will have. Jacob wondered what the council would pick
for him. Would he be a musician like
his mother or a grower like his father?
Jacob wanted to be a musician but received little encouragement from his
Delaney, one of Jacob's best friends was his mother's student. His mother treated Delaney as if she were
her own child. She encourages Delaney
to pursue her music so she will be able to specialize in it like her. Jacob on the other hand was told he might be
better suited to be a grower like his father.
He doesn't resent his mother's actions but it does aid him in his
decisions later on in the story.
Delaney was not happy living in
Harmony. She thought she could be
accepted by the seers and wanted to find happiness outside of Harmony. Jacob on the other hand was happy with his
life but one day that would all change.
He would experience a change that would affect his whole life and
everyone around him. His thoughts of
Delaney and the one encounter they have with the listeners would change Jacob's
way of thinking forever. Delaney tried
to run away from Harmony when the seers came to deliver supplies but her father
foiled her attempt. She later tries
again with disastrous results.
Jacob along with his best friend Egan gets into mischief. Sometime later, when he tries to confide in
Egan about a secret he didn't get to share with Delaney, he appears before the
council. Egan followed the rules and
the rules in Harmony were that the good of the community comes first and family
and friends come last. Through a course
of events, Jacob learns the truth about Harmony. He learns that Harmony although handicapped by loss of sight may
be worse or no different from those with sight. The philosophy of Harmony was idealistic but Jacob finds out that
idealism only exists in the minds of it's inhabitants. What they thought were truths were really
lies governed by one man.
It's interesting how Stahler
separates the blinders and seers by two different worlds, perfect and
imperfect. Ironically, saying a world
that exists without good and evil is not balanced and balance makes for a
perfect world. Stahler completely
isolates the inhabitants of Harmony from the reality of the human spirit to ask
questions and make mistakes. Everyone
does what he or she is told without question.
The inhabitants of Harmony are herded like sheep except for one boy who
sees the truth. Stahler saves the book
from becoming dull reading by adding some unique twists and turns into the
You have to read between the lines
to appreciate Stahler's philosophical ideas.
Harmony was an idealistic culture brought to a climax of mystery with
little suspense. However, I would
recommend this book for young teens but they will find that it drags in the
beginning. Nevertheless, don't put it down because it takes an unexpected turn
toward the end making for interesting reading.
© 2005 Patricia Ball
Ball, B.A., applies the following descriptions to herself:
- Research Chemist for 23 years
- BA degree in Biology, Elms
- Recent graduate of Institute
of Children's Literature
- Wife and Mother of two
- Published Poet/Writer
- Enjoy composing music, art,
- Interested in Metaphysics,
Psychology and Science
- Enjoy traveling: USA,
Canada and Europe