This is an Orwellian story. But where the original 1984 paints a gloomy picture by focusing partly on the surrounding and structure of society this book uses emotions to drive you forward in the story. There is generally very little descriptions of how, why or what has happened. This is a story about youthful rebellion in an all controlling society.
This book could easily have fallen in to so many clichéd pitfalls but the author seems to avoid them all. This result in a very pleasant read, the characters are genuine and evolve through the story. But avoiding pitfalls seems to have come at the cost of substance. Don’t get me wrong there is enough substance in both the story and the characters, but I am left a little disappointed. This story has taken the “Big Brother” concept and sprinkled sugar over it, but not enough to make it become a headache (of sugary proportions).
The sugar sprinkling of the Orwellian theme of the book becomes apparent in the story, as there is little that made me reflect on the big brother side of the story, and more on the characters development throughout. It could easily been a romance novel with an original concept, despite this however I was not discouraged, but bit disappointed.
The story is based primarily on three teenagers and their life after getting matched. A governmental dating agency on steroids arranges everyone’s coupling, and our heroine through a glitch finds out that her match is actually not. There was another, now then we are all set for the classical two guys’ one girl love drama right?
Wrong, though some of the story of course involves this particular development in the story, it is not emphasized. It is merely an undercurrent one of the many that drives this story, and keeps you turning the pages. One of main drives in this story is Cassia’s (our heroine) thirst for more knowledge. After her grandfather reveals two secret poems he has saved from what you could call the purge/the cleansing and other such things. There are only a 100 left of everything; poems, paintings, songs and stories etc. But her grandfather managed to save two more. One of which is Dylan Thomas’ “Do not go gentle into that good night” which plays very well with the story.
This spurs Cassie on, and with a curiosity that would possibly have killed a cat she starts to question the wisdom of the government. And slowly things start to happen, and the story evolves and we find ourselves deep in Cassies world without realising it, it does so slowly but there is enough tension in the story to make you dig deeper into it. Now this is where I’ll stop, because anything else could possibly spoil it for those who want to read it.
This book would be excellent as an introduction to the Orwellian nightmare without forcing someone to read 1984 by George Orwell. I would recommend reading this and Little Brother by Cory Doctorow for any person. They should come as a matched, no pun intended, set. Little Brother for the confrontational rebellion against oppressive governments. And this book for the emotional and physiological rebellions.
This is a recommened read. A short book that doesn’t mind a few interruptions, so it is perfect for the morning commute, travelling or such things that might interrupt your reading.