This is an impressive book. I’ve become a bit jaded with young adult books over the years, but that was my only reticence about picking up this one. The story sounded interesting enough for me to take the plunge, and I’m glad I did. I even read it in one evening, staying up until 3 in the morning to finish it. Why?
It wasn’t one of those fast-paced, heart-racing books that you just can’t put down because you have to know what’s happening next; no, it was better than that, and more skilful than many that follow that formula. I didn’t put it down because I felt for the characters and wanted to know what happened to them. We knew from early in the book that something big was planned, but we didn’t know exactly what. This provided an underling tension that alone kept me reading. What are they planning exactly? I wondered. As the story developed and I realised how the characters (there were quite a few of them) all would have different perspectives on the coming event, my curiosity was further aroused. And once the event occurred, then it was a matter of wondering who would survive and in what manner.
The characters are all complex and well-drawn, and their interactions and dialogue very realistic. Not only is the writing professional, so is the editing.
Added to that, the author explores the classic theme of inequality, and Gabriel’s commitment to his cause paralleled the kind of fervour that makes it easy for people to radicalise young men from disadvantaged backgrounds.
One thing I need to mention, however, is that this is subtitled a dystopian thriller but there is nothing dystopian about it. The events on the ship, apart from it being super high tech could have happened here now. Though this is the first book, so maybe it’s heading into a dystopia.
Put all together, this is a 5 star book. And the rest of the series is just as good.
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