Tag Archives: dystopia

Unfinished by Kendra C. Highley

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unfinishedUnfinished by Kendra C. Highley, e-novella, 56 pages, published 2014.

Quinn is an “artificial”, a fake human, designed with enhanced intelligence and capabilities. Now his creators are making him a friend; the same type, but this time, a girl, Lexa. Together they will train, learn and grow, and prepare for their greater purpose, whatever that might be. The head of the project, Maren DeGaul is a harsh and feared woman, who is willing to do anything to get what she wants. She believes Lexa is flawed and should be terminated, but Quinn is determined to keep Lexa alive.

I started reading this story not realising that it is a prequel to a book series, Unstrung. I was quite taken with Unfinished; it did not take long for me to read, nor did I want to put it down. I am quite keen to read more of the story in Unstrung, when Quinn and Lexa are grown up.

Fascinating and compelling, Unfinished, is an entertaining piece of science fiction. Beings that look and grow like humans, with human DNA, but also with enhancements and controls; very interesting indeed. Could this or something like it, be in our future? The lower models are considered as slaves by “real” humans and are often treated poorly, and with disdain. It’s an appalling situation, the master has total control over their slaves, including administration of punishment and even termination for any perceived misconduct. One of DeGaul’s henchmen, Piers, is particularly brutal to the artificial. He enjoys meting out punishments, especially when he is able to torture Quinn, who is but a child for the majority of this story. I found the adults of the story to be mostly despicable and immoral, with the exception of Doc Mendel, who really tried to help Quinn and be his friend.

I liked both Quinn and Lexa. They exhibit some truly amazing abilities, well beyond the levels that ordinary humans can accomplish in the same fields, such as speed and strength. Lexa is quite fiery, as well as being a phenomenal climber and sneak, while Quinn is more level-headed with advanced strength and camouflage skills. He is capable of being perfectly likeable and agreeable in order to obtain his objective. Together, they like to have fun playing pranks and causing trouble for their creators and masters. They are capable of the full spectrum of human emotions, including love and empathy. This gives Quinn hope that he is more than just a manufactured artificial human.

There were murmurs of political and social unrest outside of DeGaul’s facility that were not addressed in any depth. These issues were applying pressure to the artificial project, as DeGaul seems to be an important member of society. These rumblings are probably described and explained more thoroughly during the book series, so it may have been prudent to read the series and then the prequel for a better understanding of the situation into which Quinn and Lexa are brought.

Unfinished does contain some violence and abuse, and is most suitable for high school students.

The Heir by Kiera Cass

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heircoverThe Heir by Kiera Cass, hardback novel, 346 pages, published by HarperTeen in 2015.

Twenty years down the track from when America Singer and Prince Maxon fell in love, they have been implementing their plans for the country; disbanding the caste system and quieting the rebels, yet not everything is peachy. The populace is restless, discrimination is rife, and an uprising may be coming. Illea also has a new heir to the throne, Princess Eadlyn. The responsibilities and pressures of running the country will one day become hers, but her parents think she would do better with a companion by her side. The search for her true love would also be a convenient distraction for the public, hence a new selection begins. Thirty-five young men all vying for Princess Eadlyn’s affections in the first male selection. Might Eadlyn find her happily ever after?

Okay, so I got sucked into the world of The Selection with America and Maxon and Aspen, and I enjoyed the time I spent in Illea. So it made sense to me to read the fourth book in the series. Overall I did like reading The Heir, but I did not enjoy it nearly as much as I did the first three books in the series, and this mostly had to do with Eadlyn. She certainly was no America. I really liked America, she was impetuous and occasionally reckless, but she was also endearing, kind and compassionate. Eadlyn, however, comes across as aloof, condescending and even sometimes cruel. She is constantly telling herself that no one is more powerful than her, which is probably meant to be a self-confidence booster, but is just vain and arrogant. She is rude to her maid, Neena; insulting her for being a maid, and never saying ‘please’ or ‘thank you’. She thinks Neena is great at her job, and she needs her, but Eadlyn has never praised Neena in this way. She is always thinking about herself, even attempting to interfere with her brother’s happiness just to keep him by her side. She couldn’t even share one of her hundreds of tiara’s with Kile’s little sister, Josie, even though wearing the tiara was obviously making her happy, and it was just as obvious, to everyone aside from Eadlyn, that Josie idolises her. I found Eadlyn to be selfish and spoilt, and not very likeable. There was some character growth by the end of the book, and I can see that she can change, but it hasn’t been enough yet. I really hope she continues to improve in the next book.

Of the men that arrive for The Selection, most of them were pretty average, though I didn’t approve of Eadlyn being so dismissive and aiming to embarrass and demean them. I quite like Henri and Erik, but it must be weird to try to date someone with a translator involved. I was pleased Eadlyn seemed to deal with this strange situation better than she did most of her other potential suitors. I also like Kile, but it is curious that he grew up in the palace, alongside Eadlyn, practically like her brother. It adds an interesting element to their relationship. Still I like him. He’s a little quirky, and will probably be good for Eadlyn. And if he didn’t enter himself, then who put his name in the barrel?

All of these books have been pretty easy reading, including The Heir. It is light entertainment that doesn’t require much thinking, great for right before bed. It is kind of compulsive though, so it’s also a fast page-turning read. The writing is good and the plot somewhat predictable, yet serviceable. I want to stress that I was entertained; a book doesn’t have to be brilliant to be entertaining, and The Heir is just that, entertaining.

I do find that I have a need to discover the outcome of this historic selection despite my feelings towards Eadlyn, so I will be reading the next book in the series, The Crown. Surely Eadlyn will learn from her mistakes and become a better person.

The romance is fairly tame, just a bit of kissing. There is also a small amount of violence, so The Heir is suitable for high school students and up.

Earth’s Descent by Rachel Meehan

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earthsdescentcoverEarth’s Descent by Rachel Meehan, e-book, 217 pages, published in 2015 by Cherry House Publishing.

Nairne receives an unexpected letter that leads her to travel from Scotland all the way down to London. Ronnie accompanies her on the dangerous journey, the two of them leaving the safety of the community to face the unknown. They encounter mass death and disease, armed gangs and power hungry lunatics while they cross the vastly changed lands. Whole parts of the country are now under water, while the air swelters hotter than any summer before.

Earth’s Descent is the final installment of the Troubled Times series, which has highlighted the potential fall-out of climate change. Through increasingly erratic and extreme weather conditions, sections of land are now submerged, and whole towns destroyed. Masses of people have been displaced from their homes, have faced disease, starvation and thirst. And that’s aside from the threat of people who are making the most of the situation to exploit and control the weaker, the unarmed, the desperate. Meehan has created an highly viable and terrifying world where society no longer exists, where survival is uncertain because we, as inhabitants of Earth, failed to protect our environment and ignored climate change until it was too late to reverse the tide. I really hope we are not going to end up in Nairne’s world.

I actually put off reading Earth’s Descent for quite a while because I knew it would be the last of Nairne’s story, and I didn’t want it to end. Curiosity won out however, and I quickly dipped back into the devastated Scotland that is Nairne’s reality. I read the whole book over two, quick reading sessions, and I was sad to reach the end. It left me with a lot to think about afterwards too, mostly about what would happen to my family and friends if the climate deteriorated like that, and what will happen to Nairne, Ronnie, Paul and their community. What sort of future will they have? Would human society rebuild itself? Would the Earth recover? This series is extremely relevant to our current situation regarding climate change, and it affected me deeply. It will be a story that stays with me for a long time to come (and yes, it tempted me to stock up on long-life food and water!)

The plot is fast and full of action. This is the darkest of the three books, and reflects the desperation of the people that Nairne and Ronnie meet on their travels. There is violence and murder, intimidation and abuse. These are dark times for humanity and this comes through strongly in the story.

Nairne has been a wonderful character across all three books, and I liked her right from the start. She is strong, independent, smart and sassy. Ronnie grew on me, so that I liked him almost as much as Nairne. I would have liked to have seen a bit more of Paul, and how he was progressing from his injury, but I did enjoy meeting some of the new characters that were introduced in Earth’s Descent.

Troubled Times is a touching, exciting series suitable for high school students and adults. It reads like a cautionary tale, if only we would learn from it. If you haven’t already done so, you should read the previous two books, Water’s Edge and Power’s Out first.

 

*I received this book as a digital copy from the author, who asked me for an honest review of this book. I did not receive any other remuneration, and the review is composed entirely of my own opinions.

 

The One by Kiera Cass

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theonecoverThe One by Kiera Cass, hardback novel, 323 pages, published by HarperTeen in 2014.

There’s only four girls left vying for Maxon’s heart. It seems obvious that he prefers America, but his father is not impressed with this choice. And so The Selection continues. There are more tasks for the girls to complete, and more uncertainty as to where Maxon’s affections truly lie. As the rebel activity increases, so too does security, with the whole of the palace restricted to staying indoors, placing even more pressure on the girls. America isn’t really one to conform, but will her

The One is the third novel in The Selection series. It is a light entertaining read that I knocked over quite quickly. It is dystopian romance crossed with reality TV dating. This series is much heavier on the romance than I often read, but I found it to be engaging. There was more action in this book than the previous ones, which was great. While the plot was easy enough to follow, it was solidly written, and there were some good twists.

As the series has progressed, Maxon and America have developed significantly as characters, and for the better. They are more complex now and I have come to like them a lot. America is loyal and passionate, though a little indecisive when it comes to Maxon and Aspen. Mind you, so much of her indecision was fueled by Maxon continuing to spend time with and even to kiss the other girls. They both spent time hedging their bets, which was a little frustrating! Maxon has grown on me immensely. He seems much more real now than at the beginning of the series.

This was my favourite of The Selection books so far, as it explored the rebels situation more thoroughly. We learnt more about the two factions, the Northern and the Southern rebels, and their differing goals. I had been wondering why these groups were attacking the palace, and what their ultimate aims were, especially the Northern rebels. They were attacking, but not killing, so what were they after? After learning more about Gregory Illea in the second book, I wondered how much of the real story did Maxon know and what might he do with such information. Finally some of these questions were answered.

The One is suitable for high school students. I recommend you read the first two novels in the series (The Selection and The Elite) before this one.  There are more books in the series that I am looking forward to reading soon.

The Elite by Kiera Cass

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theleitecoverThe Elite by Kiera Cass, paperback novel, 323 pages, published HarperCollins Children’s Books in 2013.

The Elite is the second book in The Selection series, following on directly from the first book. Prince Maxon has cut the cohort of girls vying for his affection, and the throne, down to just six. These girls are now known as The Elite. Life in the palace is complicated by increased rebel activity, and the other girls are still fighting hard for Maxon. America seems to have Maxon’s heart, but he is still spending plenty of time with the other girls, which makes America jealous. Her feelings for Maxon are escalating, but with Aspen still nearby, who will she choose?

After reading The Selection and enjoying it so much, I came back to read the next book in the series, and I liked it just as much as the first. The Elite was an easy, quick  and entertaining read. This book delved more deeply into the history and politics of their dystopian world, and there was more about the rebel forces. I found this quite interesting. The development of the competition itself was also interesting, following the girls’ rivalries, friendships and time with Maxon.

The Selection series is fairytalesque, so of course, the Prince should fall in love with the heroine. Yet, it is not your simple prince meets girl, prince marries girl story. America actually has to fight for him, and Maxon has to fight for her too, as she doesn’t exactly fit the usual princess mould. And they get to do it with the whole nation watching. There was conflict within the plot and some twists, and romance, combining to make for a captivating read.

I felt that Maxon came out of his shell in this story. He wasn’t so meek, and he even argued with America, not letting her have her own way all the time. I liked this development. He also started learning more about his country’s history and the way that the lower castes live. America is certainly opening his eyes to many things. For her part, America is impulsive, generous and fiery. I like her. She is changing as she gathers more knowledge about how the country is run, and how she could change it from the inside. At the same time, Aspen is changing as he serves as a palace guard. They are diverging, yet there are still sparks between them. They have both grown up a lot since we first met them. All the characters gained more depth through this story.

The Elite is suitable for high school students. I’m looking forward to the third book in the series, The One.

 

The Selection by Kiera Cass

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theselectioncoverThe Selection by Kiera Cass, paperback, 336 pages, published by HarperCollins Children’s Books in 2012.

In a post-apocalyptic world, the land that was North America is now a Monarchy. The King and Queen rule over a rigid caste system, where ‘ones’ are royalty and ‘eights’ are the homeless and vagrants. Each caste has its own place in society, and moving between classes usually only occurs through marriage. America and her family are ‘fives’, making a paltry living through the arts. She is desperately in love with Aspen, who is a ‘six’. Meanwhile, Crown Prince Maxon comes of age and needs to find a wife, kicking off “The Selection”, where a girl from each province is selected to compete for the Prince’s hand. America is chosen, and moves to the palace with the other selected girls, leaving part of her heart behind. She may find refuge, friends, and even love in the palace, but she may also find friction and danger.

To be honest, I wasn’t sure this would be my sort of book. There had been a lot of hype over the series though, so I decided to see for myself. I was pleasantly surprised, and powered through the whole book over the weekend. And now I want to read the rest of the series.

The Selection is a light and entertaining read. I found it good bedtime reading. The plot is fairly simple, and easy to follow, without too many surprises. It made me think of a TV show I’ve seen advertised, The Bachelor. Finding love through reality television seems unlikely, and I have never felt the desire to watch shows like that, but I actually enjoyed reading Prince Maxon’s version. It probably had a lot to do with the characters, which I quite liked, despite being somewhat predictable.

America has character. She’s a bit fiery, had a desire to be non-conformist and frank; in fact she came across as rather rude sometimes, and doesn’t make friends easily. However, she’s still playing the game, no matter what she claims to feel about it. Aspen was harder to get my head around, he was more complex and darker than America. Handsome, of course, proud, and a little broken by his station in life. It will be interesting to see how his character develops in the next book.

Every time Prince Maxon said “My dear”, an image of a grey-haired, bespectacled man wearing a maroon cardigan with a rumpled dress shirt underneath, came to mind. I’m not sure that was the image the Prince was really going for! He is meant to be young, strong, handsome, but once that image popped into my head, it stayed there. He has been thrust into a position of power and must bear it the best he can, seeming brittle and strong on the outside, while really being rather shy and inexperienced at life. Since he doesn’t get out of the palace much, it’s not such a surprise.

The Selection is suitable for high school students. I will be reading the second book in the series, The Elite, to see how things progress.

Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard

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redqueen coverRed Queen by Victoria Aveyard, paperback novel, 383 pages, published by Orion Books in 2015.

Mare Barrow lives in a world divided by the colour of blood. The ruling class Silvers treat the Reds as lower life forms, forcing them to live as servants, menial workers and fodder for the front-line of an everlasting war. While the Silvers live luxurious and leisurely lives, the Reds mostly exist in poverty. The Silvers all possess some extra talent or ability that sets them apart, leading them to believe that they are superior to the Reds, who lack such superhuman powers. Then comes Mare, whose blood is red, but who has power within that may be even stronger than that of the Silvers. The Silvers hide her in plain sight, masquerading as a long lost noble within the palace itself. Despite her shackles, she will try to aid in the revolution that could free the Reds from servitude and drudgery.

A wonderful fantasy dystopia, Red Queen was a quick paced read that I enjoyed. There were some similar elements to other well regarded series, such as The Hunger Games and Divergent, with the abilities that the Silvers possess being very much like those of the X-Men. Throughout the book, the writing was good, the plot logical and the characters well developed.

I really liked the action sequences. The way the Silvers use their abilities was intriguing, though terrible when used against the Reds, who had no hope of defending themselves against such power and strength. I could have been sitting in the arena watching the last battle (or right in the thick of it!) it was so clearly written.

Overall the Silvers were cruel and arrogant, and difficult to like as characters. I have a soft spot for Cal though, he was my favourite character. He too is proud and believes himself and his people to be the rightful leaders and superiors to the Reds, but he is not cruel or dismissive in the same way as the other Silver nobles. He is in line for the throne, but he wants to be a just and kind king, serving all of his people, including those with red blood. This is reflected in the way he meets and treats Mare. The other Silver that I liked was Julian, Mare’s teacher. He was kind and curious, prepared to accept a different social order.

Cal’s brother, Maven, on the other hand, I didn’t like at all. Perhaps it was just the instant dislike I took to his wicked and manipulative mother, the Queen Elara, that had me in mind that he shouldn’t be trusted, or his overly sweet treatment of Mare. I wanted to shout at Mare to keep herself guarded around him! Evangeline, Cal’s betrothed, was a right cow, but very well described. I hoped Mare would overcome Evangeline at some point.

I generally felt sorry for the Reds, and incensed that they should be treated so badly due to the accident of their birth and genetics. I cheered on the Scarlet Guard for taking a stand against their oppressors. I often found myself shaking my head at Mare though. She made some very poor decisions. However, I still liked her, and I really wanted her to realise how she felt about Cal before it was too late.

There was some violence, not much swearing, and only a little romance. Red Queen is a great young adult novel suitable for high school students. There is a sequel coming out soon called Glass Sword, which I am looking forward to. I think this could be another great young adult series.

 

Immurement by Norma Hinkens

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immurementcoverImmurement by Norma Hinkens, e-book, 247 pages, published by Dunecadia Publishing in 2015.

When the core of the Earth overheats and causes major volcanic activity, much of the world’s population is lost. The remaining survivors take shelter in underground bunkers in the less populous areas, and become known as Undergrounders. They are not the only survivor groups though, there are also roving bands of subversives that are happy to raid and kill for fun, known as Rogues. And from the sky, come the Sweepers, who snatch up people from the ground in their hoverships.  Derry Connolly, along with her Da and her brother, Owen, are Undergrounders living in the Sawtooth Mountains, just trying to survive. Then a nearby camp is attacked, and Owen is taken. Derry finds herself on the trail with her bunker mates, Big Ed and Mason. Despite her young age, Derry must rise to the task of rescuing her brother, facing Rogues and Sweepers, doing anything necessary to stay alive.

Immurement is the first book in The Undergrounders Series, a YA dystopian/sci-fi saga. It is a fast action packed ride of survival suitable for middle to upper high school students. This story is about survival, but there are also science fiction and futuristic themes, including cloning and artificial intelligence. There is also a lot of violence, weapon use and death. It all felt appropriate for this story though.

The flow of the story was pretty fast, with lots of action. It was well written and descriptive, though I am still a little murky on exactly what happened to cause the devastation of the core overheating. I also didn’t quite follow how the world went from individually run countries to a sovereign leader, or why. I could have done with a little more background to the situation at hand, but I ploughed on and still enjoyed the story. The ending wrapped up the story nicely, while setting the stage for the sequel.

Most of the characters were quite complex. As the story progresses, we get to know the characters and their backgrounds, and watch them develop. In particular Derry grows quite a lot during the story, from a dreamy kid into a leader, a transformation that is not without its bumps. She had some tough decisions to make, but she did her best. I liked her. I also liked most of the other characters. Mason was a very interesting character; he seemed so cold and tough at the start, but a gentler side appeared later on. And Big Ed was a tough old cookie, though discovering his past surprised and saddened me. Blade and Rummy were suitably despicable as Rogues, cut-throat, violent and very very scary! The leader of the Sweepers was a hideous person inside and out. Him and his work gave me shivers! He reminds us why the responsibility of scientific development should not be given carte blanche to a single person. The bodyguard clones were blood-chilling too, but I also felt bad for them as they were made to be like that, with no life of their own.

Overall, this was a complex read with lots happening. At times it was sad, but it was always exciting and engaging. Immurement is set to be released on the 16th December 2015, with the second installment scheduled for January 2016. I hope the next book is as exciting as the first!

 

*I received this book as a digital advanced reader copy from the author, who asked me for an honest review of this book. I did not receive any other remuneration, and the review is composed entirely of my own opinions.

Chained by Susanne Valenti

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chainedcoverChained by Susanne Valenti, e-book, 198 pages, published by Amazon Digital Services, Inc. in 2015.

Years before, humanity was afflicted by a contamination event, which left many dead, and others terribly mutated. Plants and animals were also affected, further endangering humans. The remaining people fled into the walled cities, and began living as part of the population, contributing to and being ruled by the strictures of the new society. Maya has grown up within the safety of the city, hidden behind The Wall, but when her life takes an unexpected course, she finds herself being led beyond the safety zone of the city. Suddenly her eyes are open to a whole other world, making her question everything she has ever been told.

Chained is a fast paced young adult novel suitable for high school students and up. It is packed with action, adventure and a little romance. Nothing explicit though! The story was rather violent with a lot of fighting and deaths, including the use of weaponry such as knives and guns. I enjoyed the action sequences, they were well written and exciting, perfect for getting the adrenaline pumping!

The plot was well developed and logical. I found the story to be engrossing, in fact I had a difficult time stopping myself from reading the next chapter when it was time for bed! Maya and all the residents of the city were being kept in the dark about so many things, and the Guardians used their fear of contamination to control them, a bit like a large cult. As Maya and Laurie began to discover some of the secrets, it made me wonder just what else was being hidden or controlled and why.

The world that has been created in this dystopian novel has the massive enclosed cities, but the rest of the land is similar to that of today, except that everything is exaggerated in size, speed and cognitive functionality. In some ways this makes it scarier, the animals and plants are familiar, yet like nothing we’ve ever experienced, it made me think of what the world might have been like in prehistoric times.

The SubWar area of the city really brought out the worst in people, who were not only condemned to fight for their lives, but appeared to enjoy the killing of others. This might be a comment on the nature of humanity laid bare. The whole situation with the serial killer Grey was a bit odd though. He was completely unhinged, but the way that he looked at Maya, I thought there would be some prior connection between them. The concept of going to fight in SubWar as a punishment is very scary, but Grey and his cronies were just terrifying.

Maya is the main character, and the narration mostly follows her throughout the book. She is petite with a tendency towards anger when frustrated, and has a habit of being somewhat clumsy. Overall I liked Maya, though I thought she should have been straight with Taylor about how she feels about their relationship. However, I think many teenagers could relate to her situation with Taylor, growing up friends, and then puberty changing things.

All of the characters were well written and likable, though I felt a bit sorry for Taylor, with his unrequited love interest in Maya. He seemed like a nice guy, loyal, caring, playful. I thought he would play more of a role in the story than he did, and I would have liked to get to know him a bit better. It could have been an interesting sub-plot with both Taylor and Coal lusting after Maya! Coal was more of a dark horse than Taylor. He has experienced a hard life that has sculpted him into a more mature and serious character than his years would normally lead to. Coal’s sister, Alicia, is tough, but also cheery and cheeky. She often has something snide on the tip of her tongue, but she genuinely embraces life and the people she shares it with. She was a big personality that I really liked. Laurie was more reserved, yet still strong and tough when required.

Susanne Valenti is an emerging author, and Chained is her first book in a five book series called Cage of Lies. This is the start of a great series for fans of dystopian fiction and I am very excited that there is more to come!

 

*I received this book as a digital copy from the author, who asked me for an honest review of this book. I did not receive any other remuneration, and the review is composed entirely of my own opinions.

Power’s Out by Rachel Meehan

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Water's EdgePower’s Out by Rachel Meehan, e-book, 223 pages, published by Cherry House Publishing in 2013.

Two years on from when Paul and Nairne leave the Grear farm behind in Water’s Edge, sees them traveling the countryside with Dog, staying away from the towns and trying to survive. Civilisation is crumbling, bandits control the roadways and the city streets, and there is a dwindling number of people to trust. When they stumble across a self-sufficient community residing in an abandoned convent, they are taken in and given shelter in exchange for Nairne’s assistance with their wind turbines. The community consists of about thirty people working together to survive, including some young people similar in age to Paul and Nairne. This could become home for the pair, ending their wanderings. Nothing is that simple though. Danger is present as they set out to help the community acquire much needed parts and supplies, which means venturing far beyond the safety of the convent’s walls. Their past is also creeping closer, but will it catch them at last?

The second book of the Troubled Times series, Power’s Out, was fast-paced and exciting. With lots of action, it is an exhilarating ride of survival. There was much more explicit violence in this story than its predecessor, which helps to illustrate how civilisation has fallen back to more instinctual behaviours as the world around it falls apart. When the constraints of society fall away and there are no longer any policing bodies to enforce laws, there is violence for gain, and violence for enjoyment. This is a terrifying insight into base human nature, but one which I think is rather accurate. There are plenty of unscrupulous people taking advantage of others in stable communities, but when there is no one to enforce the law, or those enforcers are corrupt, there arises the opportunity for these behaviours to increase. And that’s what we see in Power’s Out. The scenes of violence are vivid and scary, but the people behind the violence are even scarier!

It is easy to step into the Scottish landscape portrayed in this book, and follow along with Nairne and Paul, experiencing what they experience. All of the characters are richly described and developed, allowing the reader to get to know them. With the introduction of more characters from the community, different aspects of Nairne’s and Paul’s characters become evident. Paul and Nairne have become extremely close during their traveling and it is hard to let others in, though they are each tempted by a young member of the community. There are a lot more characters to get to know too. Suddenly Nairne and Paul don’t just have each other to rely on and interact with, they have to cope with others, most of whom do not realise how dire their situation really is. I liked Ronnie a lot. He’s a bit of a clown, but he is also loyal and caring. Iain, I didn’t like as much, he was a prig, but I think most of that came from being jealous of Paul and Isobel. She seemed a bit oblivious to how Iain felt about her, but perhaps she just didn’t want to acknowledge his feelings. She certainly took to Paul, and was likable as a character. I particularly liked Isobel’s father, Jack. He was sensible, kind, intelligent, and fair. He was also very accepting of Paul and Nairne, and was ready to learn from them and to be assisted by them, an attitude that not everyone in the community shared. The older members of the community, including their leader, Arthur, for the most part, were a bit naive, believing that things could continue as they were indefinitely, that they would be left untouched by the outside world.

The end of Power’s Out was very intense. I felt quite anxious as I read the last few chapters, wondering if Nairne and Paul would make it through, if the community would survive, and how things would play out. It left me feeling rather desperate to read the final installment of this wonderful trilogy!

Power’s Out is suitable for high school students through to adults. It contains violence and some bad language. The themes of societal breakdown and environmental disaster could be frightening for less mature readers.

 

*I received this book as a digital copy from the author, who asked me for an honest review of this book. I did not receive any other remuneration, and the review is composed entirely of my own opinions.