When I first began reading The Pentrals by Crystal Mack, I was very much caught up in the idea of shadows having not only thoughts, but personalities as well. At a young age, I often believed that my shadow was a real person. I would hold conversations with my shadow, albeit, one-sided. So after the first few pages of The Pentrals, I was hooked.
Some readers might argue that a book with a shadow as the main character would be boring. However, just as I began to feel the whole experience was becoming mundane, Mack switched up the plot in a way that I never saw coming.
The Pentrals is more than just a cute tale about a shadow and its Person. It deals with much deeper queries: Have we lived before, and if so, do we occasionally remember those past lives? And do those past lives influence our present life and possibly future lives?
The beauty of The Pentrals does not show itself in the plot; in fact, it does not show itself in the characters, either. Its beauty appears in the quiet and yet disturbing way Mack describes the life of a Pentral – forced to fix itself to a body or object for eternity and mimic every movement. It’s hard enough to create a realistic character, or even create a character of the opposite gender of the author, but Mack takes a shadow, an inanimate object, and turns it into a living, breathing being, with thoughts and emotions, hopes and dreams, goals and aspirations. She gives this murky gray character a past and substance. This shadow, this Pentral, becomes the star of the book: Antares.