Published November 20th, 2012 by Threshold Editions
“I was just a baby when we were relocated and I don’t remember much. Everybody has that black hole at the beginning of their life. That time you can’t remember. Your first step. Your first taste of table food. My real memories begin in our assigned living area in Compound 14.” Just a generation ago, this place was called America. Now, after the worldwide implementation of a UN-led program called Agenda 21, it’s simply known as “the Republic.” There is no president. No Congress. No Supreme Court. No freedom.
There are only the Authorities.
Citizens have two primary goals in the new Republic: to create clean energy and to create new human life. Those who cannot do either are of no use to society. This bleak and barren existence is all that eighteen-year-old Emmeline has ever known. She dutifully walks her energy board daily and accepts all male pairings assigned to her by the Authorities. Like most citizens, she keeps her head down and her eyes closed.
Until the day they come for her mother.
“You save what you think you’re going to lose.”
Woken up to the harsh reality of her life and her family’s future inside the Republic, Emmeline begins to search for the truth. Why are all citizens confined to ubiquitous concrete living spaces? Why are Compounds guarded by Gatekeepers who track all movements? Why are food, water and energy rationed so strictly? And, most important, why are babies taken from their mothers at birth? As Emmeline begins to understand the true objectives of Agenda 21 she realizes that she is up against far more than she ever thought. With the Authorities closing in, and nowhere to run, Emmeline embarks on an audacious plan to save her family and expose the Republic—but is she already too late?
I can see this kind of thing coming already so let’s get this out of the way. If your reaction to my rating or reading of this book is any of the following, please take note:
“But Stefani, It’s Glenn Beck! OMG, like how could you possibly rate something with that’s bastard’s name on it that high?! What’s wrong with you?!” – Okay, seriously, just go away. It’s a good book, take a sharpie to his name if it annoys you so badly.
“He didn’t even write it, he’s just slapping his name on it to make money!” – True, but it says so in the Afterword that Harriet Parke conceived of and wrote this novel. So if you want to bitch about this, stop buying James Patterson since it’s exactly the same thing. And if you do buy James Patterson yet bitch about this, just go away.
“This is all just the mindless ravings of a lunatic and it’s just so disgusting!” – Go away please. If you are so narrow-minded that you can’t enjoy a good story because of whose name is on the cover then there is just no hope for you.
Now, if you’ve made it this far, this book was fantastic. I couldn’t stop reading it, I have kept thinking about it after I stopped reading it, I want to know what happens after the last page, I have to know what happens! This is not a difficult book, it doesn’t use big words and it isn’t overly complex but it really doesn’t need to be. It’s dark, sinister and disturbing all on its own. I stayed up half the night on a week day when I had to work just to read this. Seriously go read it, now. Don’t even finish this review, just go!
Emmeline is a sweet character and I couldn’t help but want to protect her. She has been raised in this community for most of her life and knows of no other way of life, yet she hears stories from her mother about how things used to be. Never very curious about why it all happened, she just listens to the stories and walks her energy board every day like a good Citizen should. She is paired with an older man and has a daughter, who is taken by the community Authorities to be raised in the Children’s Village. That is when things begin to change for Emmeline. Shortly after her mother is taken away because she is no longer being productive and she is re-paired with another man. It is only then that she starts to question the status quo and worry that her opportunity to learn the truth might have passed.
I really liked the way the plot of this book played out. It doesn’t really seem all that bad at first, everything is provided for you and all you have to do is your assigned job to produce for the community and produce new citizens. Seems great. But it’s not. It is confining and restricting. Unfortunately for the younger citizens, how do you yearn for freedom when you have never known it? For Emmeline it is when her daughter is taken from her, which was a heartbreaking moment. The true horrors of this community are never fully explained but alluded to. I liked that since it added to the horror of it but isn’t explicit. Everything was so bleak and dark, even the colors of everything in this world.
I can’t recommend this book enough. I don’t dare say too much about it since it might give too much away. All I will say is that this is so far poised to be my Book of the Year for 2013.