I love a good book and I loved this one. It’s wonderful to read something so confident, sleek and delightfully different. YA fantasy became bogged down in vampires, witches and werewolves for some time, then we had a spate of dystopian novels and a bit of steampunk. Stories of the Fae have always been a standard, but I have never read anything like quite like this. Not only is it different, it’s seamless.
Lydia is an Amish girl in a future where the Amish community lives in a walled off area near a defunct nuclear reactor. When the reactor blew, the land around was abandoned, but the Amish stayed and the ruling party left them to it because no one wanted the land. They’re supposed to stay behind the wall, but there is a secret gate and the young Amish can choose to visit the Englisher’s world for a time before, if they decide to return, they take their baptism to commit to the Amish way of life.
The story begins in the Amish world with Lydia and her best friend Jeremiah. He wants to visit the outside world. She isn’t so sure, but when her father has a stroke and needs outside medical attention, she leaves with Jeremiah to go and visit her father in hospital. But something strange happens when she comes into contact with electricity. She discovers that she can absorb electricity and use it. She would never harm a soul, but circumstances make it necessary when the ruling party takes her into custody and don’t treat her kindly.
Electricity is power in this new world in more ways than one. It’s scarcity means that those who control the power, control everything. Money is not coins, it’s units of power. Lydia uses her new found power to escape and she takes another prisoner with her, Korwen. He’s like her, the only other electrokinetic in the world, and the result of an experiment on his parents. Of course, Lydia’s father is not her father at all, at least not her biological father. Lydia knows, however, that he is her father in all the ways that matter.
But even after she and Korwen escape, they are not safe, for the Rebellion forces want to use them as well as the Government. The story is unpredictable, as the best stories are, and the ending is very satisfying. It’s well-paced, well-structured and well-written.
The prose is highly engaging, some of the best writing I’ve seen in the YA genre for some time.
The author has thought through the science of Lydia and Korwen’s condition well. I don’t know how scientific it actually is, but it makes sense. The world building is excellent.
The characters are beautifully fleshed out, and I found myself caring deeply for all the main characters. What I liked most of all was how Lydia’s Amish upbringing influenced her decisions and gave her a moral dilemma. Her father’s wisdom was most refreshing as was Lydia’s intelligence. Korwen and Lydia have the ultimate electric kiss.
I also liked the thought-provoking projection of what might happen when Green government policies are taken to extreme, and the suggestion that even when a party starts off with the best intentions, once on power they are not immune to corruption.
All up, a truly excellent book and one that could be enjoyed by all ages. The descriptions of Lydia and Korwen’s power are as awesome as the power they wield.
I received this book free from the publisher in return for an honest review.