John Green once wrote, “Sometimes, you read a book and it fills you with this weird evangelical zeal, and you become convinced that the shattered world will never be put back together unless and until all living humans read the book.” I have never felt anything to be as true as this after I finished the phenomenal, stunning novel The Concealed by Sarah Kleck.
A great book should leave you with many experiences, and slightly exhausted at the end. You live several lives while reading, and Kleck’s powerful debut does exactly that. It sweeps us off our feet and takes us into another world filled with hope, magic, legends and storytelling. It has quickly become one of my favourite novels and I couldn’t put it down once I started reading it.
After her parents died in a car accident when she was just a child, Evelyn Lakewood was left alone in the world. Now grown up, she enrolls at Oxford University, where she begins to create a new, stable life.
But when she encounters Jared Calmburry, who she later discovers is an orphan with his own tragic history, the equilibrium she was striving for is thrown off. Instantly drawn to this mysterious stranger with the incredible blue eyes, and confounded by the unusual events that occur whenever they meet, Evelyn resolves to investigate further.
What she finds will startle her beyond measure: an ancient legacy of magic, a centuries-old secret society, and a foreboding legend with her and Jared at its center. As she follows a cryptic trail, Evelyn will discover clues to her own painful past, answers she hadn’t even been looking for—and a passionate love she cannot resist despite the dangers it brings.
The Concealed reminds us to believe in magic, and teaches us that when the pain we feel resides, love remains in it’s purest form. Not only that, but through magic, Kleck helps us discover the best part of life: that some love is greater than death. This amazing and beautiful book is full of love, passion, fight, hope, and of course, magic. There is magic all around us, even when we aren’t looking.
Once I started reading The Concealed, I couldn’t put it down. I read the whole book in one sitting, and was aching for more when I finished. I was overjoyed when I realised that this book was the first of two novels, but then a little disappointed when I found out that I have to wait until November to read it’s sequel, The Revealed.
One of the things I loved most about The Concealed, was the deeper message I felt that Kleck was getting at. The book looks at the idea of fate, of things being predestined for us, and how they come into our lives and their effect on us. There are some things that appear to be carved out for us, things that would seem are part of some greater plan created for us.
Then it begs the question: is everything real? Is everything that seems predestined for us really what we want? Or do we only want it because it is predestined for us?
What I have learned from reading The Concealed, is that sometimes fate does play a part, and sometimes we do have a destiny, but I also believe we are only fated to do the things that we’d choose anyway.
There comes a point in the novel where the protagonist, Evelyn, wonders if Jared really loves her because of who she is, or because of this historic, magical, predestined bond between them. He says:
“I’m pretty sure I’d have fallen in love with you even entirely without magic, I mean, look at you!” he said, taking me into his arms….“In the end, it doesn’t matter to me.” He stroked my cheek with his fingers. “Whether this bond contributed a part or not, I thank providence for leading you to me.” – Sarah Kleck, The Concealed.
Coming to the same conclusion, Evelyn later goes on to say:
“Even if we found each other through magic, it didn’t make a difference—what was important was that we’d found each other, and our love was real.” – Sarah Kleck, The Concealed.
Fate is a funny thing, and some people spend most of their lives attempting to figure out what it is we are destined for. But for the most part, we don’t know what our destiny is. We don’t know what our fate will bring. Most people will argue over its existence, getting all worked up over the idea that we can’t do a thing to change the course of our lives.
Some people fear the thought that we are not in control of our own lives. They argue that it is our choices, our decisions, that become our fate. I can see why, it’s terrifying to think we are only walking a road already paved out for us. But I do believe, even more so after reading The Concealed, that whatever we are fated to do, we would choose anyway. That those choices, our choices, is what our fate would be.
We don’t just blindly follow our fate, we walk into it with our eyes open. Because, really, we are only fated to do the things that we’d choose, and at the same time, we choose the things we are fated to do.