Monday, August 11, 2014
This book is similar to a packet of oyster crackers: tasty but not quite the same as the whole clam chowder.
Set in futuristic America, this novel follows Madeline Landry; she is the heir to her family's vast fortune but she's not so sure she wants it yet. America is controlled by the gentry, and the people are broken up into classes. First, there is the Uprisen, a select group of wealthy gentry who control basically the entire country. The heirs are expected to marry early and produce children quickly; this task falls to Madeline, and she is reluctant until she meets the very suitable and handsome David Dana. The second class of citizens is the middle class, people allowed to work in trades and service to the gentry and upper class. Finally, there is the lowest of the low, the Rootless, who handle the radioactive materials that provide the gentry with their endless wealth and power. The Rootless are sick and poor, and they are constantly dying as a result of the massive amounts of radioactivity they receive each day. The gentry, however, give little thought to these dying people other than to ridicule and look down upon their insignificant existences. But when Cara Westoff, Madeline's childhood tormentor, says that she is attacked by the Rootless, Madeline doesn't immediately believe her, and she feels she must sort out the truth. She travels to the Rootless community with David Dana, where she witnesses countless injustices. Her view of her previously idyllic home is completely changed, and she must decide how to handle her newly found awareness of her society. She must ultimately choose between justice and comfort.
This novel is a pretty good read. The plot is interesting and the story is fairly original. If you like princess-y type books and futuristic novels, this book is certainly a blend of the two genres. There are several plot lines to consider while reading, which is always more interesting than just one, so that is certainly a plus. In general, the book was good.
There are a few qualms I had that I might point out for consideration, however. Generally, the characters are of the slow variety; they do not catch on to simple plot points until long after the reader has. Along the same lines, they do not address their seemingly most relevant and intriguing problems first, instead they ignore them until there is no avoiding them. This is frustrating, as the reader obviously doesn't want to wait while the protagonist floats around, unaware or uninterested in their most pressing problems. Finally, and most importantly, the book was a little boring in some parts. I was never seized with the urge stop everything and read until I was finished. It was in some places a little drab.
The book in the end was not bad though, just a little slow. I would consider it for a quick read if you have the time. By the final couple chapters, it was definitely more interesting, and the pace did pick up.