Book Review – The Rules of Seeing

The Rules Of Seeing
By Joe Heap
Harper Collins
Rating: ****

Nova is 32 years old and she is about to see the world for the very first time. 

Jillian Safinova, Nova to her friends, can do many things. She can speak five languages. She can always find a silver lining. And she can even tell when someone is lying just from the sound of their voice.

But there’s one thing Nova can’t do. She can’t see.

When her brother convinces her to have an operation that will restore her sight, Nova wakes up to a world she no longer understands. Until she meets Kate.
As Kate comes into focus, her past threatens to throw them into a different kind of darkness. Can they each learn to see the world in a different and open their eyes to the lives they could have been living all along?


The story follows Kate and Nova, flitting between the two perspectives but in 3rd person. It isn’t such a romantic story as the synopsis suggests, it is so much more than that, there is a lot of depth to the story and the characters.

Kate is married to Tony, but all isn’t as happy as it seems and as time goes on you come to realise that Tony isn’t such a nice man, he is controlling and emotionally abusive to Kate. When she meets Nova, she is like a breath of fresh air and takes her mind away from other things and makes her feel safe.

Nova debates for a while about whether or not she wants the operation to be able to see, and when she wakes up and opens her eyes the world is a very confusing place, but meeting Kate and spending time with her, helps her to cope. 

This story is so well written, Nova describes things that people who can see don’t even notice on a day to day basis, such as learning depth perception, the fact that clouds look solid but aren’t, that objects can appear to be different colours depending on what sort of light it is in. 

She comes up with “rules of seeing” that she will remind herself to help her get through and understand the world better. Joe has really done his research and thought about this book in great depth, the detail in which sight is described by Nova is brilliant. It wouldn’t surprise me if he actually spoke to people who have been blind and had their sight restored as the description is so thorough.

I don’t really know what I expected from the book, but I didn’t expect to be completely sucked into the characters and really want to know all about them and what happens next. Putting the book down was hard, I just wanted to keep reading and reading.

I am not going to give away any spoilers, but all I will say is, the story does not play out any way like you would imagine it to, the genre isn’t what I thought it would be, actually quite the opposite! However, that makes it all the more enjoyable.

If you are looking for something you can get sucked into and absolutely love, I highly recommend this book! Dee x

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