Hidden Variables

My thanks to Netgalley for a review copy of this book. I picked this one up, while it does contain some paranormal elements, because of the description of the book which included the words ‘witnesses a murder’, and ‘to catch a killer’, and the combination of visions of the past and future and a murder mystery sounded an interesting read.


This is the story of Sophia Leto, who like the other members of the Leto family has certain ‘gifts’―the ability to look into the possible future, or rather various possible futures, and people’s memories of the past where they are especially strong, and to use that information to prevent untoward outcomes, and perhaps ensure a certain outcome which is seen to be good for the world. Sophia’s case is however, different from the other members of her family for while the others have been seeing visions of people they don’t really know (as has Sophia), she is very much a part of that future to come, and will have a role in changing the course of things, positively or negatively. As a result, Sophia is seen as a ‘freak’ by some of her fellow students, and it is only with her friend Annie that she can share what she is going through. Besides these visions, another vision that she’s been getting is of a boy, a fellow student at school named Avery, whose mother was robbed and murdered two years ago, which mystery still remains unsolved. There is some role that Avery must play in the future which is not clear to Sophia or her family yet, but as a result of the state of affairs, he is inclined to suicide which Sophia must prevent, and at the same time solve the mystery of what really happened to Avery’s mother. Sophia has much more at stake in all of this as her own future is also involved besides of course, that of the wider world. Alongside are some other-worldly spirits (not quite sure how I should describe them), the Thirteen, who have gone through some problems of their own in their world but who are now looking out for the earth’s future, and guiding Sophia and others to reach the ‘right’ outcome. Of them, we essentially meet one, Ahrl, who seems to have some of the same visions that Sophia does.


This was very different from my usual kind of reading because of the supernatural aspects, but I quite enjoyed reading it―one reason probably was that while this world does have its supernatural elements, it is also one in which the characters try to find explanations through science. Sophia’s father works at CERN (her mother at a hospital) and this is where she intends to get to herself, her interests lying in physics, and using this to explain what she and her family can see. It is a struggle of course, considering others can’t and won’t be able to understand this, and so they must always tread with caution. The other was of course that this was a murder mystery, and that element I felt was pretty well done because while one does get some clue that things are not what they seem at first glance, I couldn’t tell how it would turn out. Sophia herself is a really likeable character—she’s intelligent, has her head firmly on her shoulders. I enjoyed how Avery dealt with the girls who bully Sophia but also liked the fact that Sophia had the maturity to simply ignore them and not give way to anger. Despite all of this happening I also liked how the author dealt with the whole idea of visions and the future—that it isn’t as such anything definite but a whole host of possibilities, any of which may come to pass depending on the choices people make. Some aspects though (some characters as well) didn’t entirely make sense to me (this could have had to do with my reading), and I felt more explanation was needed. I only realised later that this was a prequel, and since I quite liked the plot and characters, I am interested to see how the story progresses (haven’t read book 1) and how things really turn out for the characters in the future.


4 thoughts on “Review: Hidden Variables

  1. It’s tough with interrelated books, in a series, and that includes prequels, when you feel you mayn’t have the whole premise or backstory which was probably explained or at least set up in the very first novel. To me the skill of a good writer is to allow a new reader in at any stage without a lot of wordy exposition or worthy explication.

    Still, what you’ve outlined here is enough for me to keep a lookout for this or others in the series, thanks.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Good to hear. I picked this one up based solely on the description which sounded pretty interesting. And for the most part this did turn out to be a very enjoyable read. Hope you enjoy it as well!

      Liked by 1 person

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