Completion Date: July 11, 2011
Reason for Reading: Jessica, from Random House Canada, said: "The Hunger Games meets Oryx and Crake. A dystopian novel you won’t be able to put down." Needless to say, I was intrigued!
This fast-paced YA debut novel has it all: smart, savvy characters making their way through an eerily dystopian society, with all the requisite action, adventure and romance characteristic of the genre vividly and at times, chillingly, portrayed.This book was a release for June that I was intrigued about reading, but wasn't rushing to do so. I like Dystopian novels, but I am not as big a fan as other people are. I actually forgot what it was about this book that lead me to request it in the first place! June was just a very off reading month for me and I am scrambling to get caught-up. I am very happy to read this book because I enjoyed it. I knew I probably would because it came so well recommended. I love Oryx & Crake and, although I didn't love the entire trilogy, I enjoyed The Hunger Games itself. I think that is another reason why I was hesitant to read this book. It was compared to two very well-written books and had big shoes to fill as a result.
In a wild and lawless future, where life is cheap and survival is hard, eighteen-year-old Saba lives with her father, her twin brother Lugh, her young sister Emmi and her pet crow Nero. Theirs is a hard and lonely life. The family resides in a secluded shed, their nearest neighbour living many miles away and the lake, their only source of water and main provider of food, gradually dying from the lack of rain. But Saba's father refuses to leave the place where he buried his beloved wife, Allis, nine years ago. Allis died giving birth to Emmi, and Saba has never forgiven her sister for their mother's death.
But while she despises Emmi, Saba adores her twin brother Lugh. Golden-haired and blue-eyed, loving and good, he seems the complete opposite to dark-haired Saba, who is full of anger and driven by a ruthless survival instinct. To Saba, Lugh is her light and she is his shadow, he is the day, she is the nighttime, he is beautiful, she is ugly, he is good, she is bad.
So Saba's small world is brutally torn apart, when a group of armed riders arrives five day's after the twin's eighteenth birthday snatch Lugh away. Saba's rage is so wild, that she manages to drive the men away, but not before they have captured Lugh and killed their father.
And here begins Saba's epic quest to rescue Lugh, during which she is tested by trials she could not have imagined, and one that takes the reader on breathtaking ride full or romance, physical adventure and unforgettably vivid characters, making this a truly sensational YA debut novel.
I think dystopian books are particularly frightening at the moment because we see so many warning signs now. There is crazy weather patterns over most of the planet and Nostradamus predicted that world would be ending in December of next year. If either of these events lead to doom and gloom then it makes dystopian novels even more frightening. I would not want to live in the worlds represented in these books. This book was no exception. The thing that attracted my interest in this book was that this book could be true right now because there are many things that happen in the book that are happening in the 'real' world. One that comes to mind is that as a society, people have become addicted to a drug and those that have the drug are ruling the world and controlling the masses. I try to shy away from politics on my blog, but this made me think of this black substance called oil that is basically ruling our current culture. I might be reading too much into this aspect of the book, but that is what it made me think of.
Moving on. This is the story of Saba who has lived a very isolated lifestyle. The next thing she knows, though, strange men appear and take her twin brother away. Her father is killed as a result and her and her sister are left to fend for themselves in a world that do not even begin to understand. Saba has no idea why Lugh was taken, but she promises him that she will save him. That is the basic plot for the story. Obviously, it is a mean world out there, though, and Saba has a lot more to contend with than she originally thought. She is a strong, determined young woman. She can be suspicious, but her isolation has also left her a tad naive. She is not about to give-up without a fight, though, and for that I really enjoyed her character.
This book has all the inevitable traits of the young adult novel in this day and age, but still managed to suck me in. Young wrote characters that I really enjoyed and look forward to see more from in the future. There is romance, of course, but handled better than I hoped. The love that Saba feels for her brother is much more important, but I imagine if there is a sequel there will have to be more development of the romance. As long as there are no threesomes, obsession, and other annoyances, the romance has a lot of potential to not drive me nuts. I am mostly curious to see what Saba will do next. She is a character worth reading about and so far a very good role model for young adults reading this series... trilogy... I assume there is a sequel!
I recommend this to anyone looking for strong characters, good story-line, and a fresh take on the dystopian novel.
Thanks to Random House Canada for sending me a copy of this book!