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Wednesday, June 25, 2014


By H. A. Swain. Published this month.

Thalia Apple lives in the not-too-distant future where all food is gone. Wars, famine, and plagues have eradicated all plants and animals save humans. It's only thanks to One World corporation that humans receive Synthamil and inoculations that provide nutrition while balancing hormones and suppressing hunger. Thalia's mother and father are renowned scientists and engineers within One World corp, so they live in relative luxury. However, Thalia thinks differently from the rest. She resists One World's vapid consumerism and likes to learn about the past where farmers grew and ate their own food and made things with their hands. Recently, she has been feeling something strange inside: she feels hungry. Soon she learns that the world is nothing like she knew, and some rumors have more truth than she thinks.

       I read this book on a recommendation and I believe it was well placed. This book is very commendable as a futuristic dystopian, providing insight into several niches of society: the ultra rich, the very poor, and several in-between. It goes past the simple overlord class/working class trope, which I appreciate. The only downfall in the worldbuilding is due to Thalia's ignorance about specific events in the past, which I find frustrating. I want to know more about how One World became so powerful. I guess I will have to wait for a sequel.
The plot is a bit slow to start. In fact, I was bored. However, I kept the recommendation in mind and stuck it through to the end; it gradually became more interesting. The ending swooped down in a bit of a rush and left plenty of room for more, so I am expecting a trilogy in the making.

       Overall I like the story. Looking back, events are a bit cookie cutter and happen conveniently, some characters are irrational, (they are only human, but dang are they annoying), and once or twice I could guess the plot before it happened. Despite all this, I see no real issues in the story or its telling and I pass on the recommendation for the sake of a good distopian.

       I rate this book a 3.5. It's definitely a worthy choice for a rainy day, but since I wasn't captured in the very beginning I won't go the full 4 stars. As a food, I compare this book to an artisan hamburger. It was crafted with forethought, but the bun is a bit too big so the first bite is just bread. After that, it's pretty good all the way to the end.

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