For today's Book Review Wednesday, I've got a book I found myself enjoying a lot more than I expected! I found it a sort of cross between The Hunger Games, The Handmaid's Tale, and Equilibrium. Dystopian fiction worth reading indeed.
The war is over. Resources are scarce. The population is dwindling in the Forkstream Territories.
Pinnacle Officer Wilcox has created FERTS amidst the chaos, a facility designed to protect the female population from raiding hordes.
Beth 259201, a newly-demoted Epsilon Internee, suspects that there is something more that lurks beneath the carefully constructed order of the facility.
She has a gift, one that could brand her a defective. A novice fighter, she must use her intellect to survive. Her own life, and the lives of many more may be at risk. Will she succumb to the plans in store for her or will she conceal her secret long enough to discover her own path?
My Review: 4 Stars
While it took me a chapter or two to get into the book, by page 30 I was fascinated. I found myself curious to find out more about these "Beths" (each with their own unique number) and the horrible "breeding world" in which they lived. I LOVED the way the girls were ranked according to the various factors (attractiveness, musculature, personality, etc.). It was a fascinating look at what would happen if modern society broke down "being a woman" into numbers and formulas.
The story overall was pretty good, though I found myself enjoying the first 2/3 more than the last part. The climax was good (satisfying ending), but there was quite a bit that felt dangerously close to Deus Ex Machina.
SPOILER: DO NOT READ IF YOU HATE SPOILERS!!
The character develops a sort of telepathy or precognition, but I didn't catch the explanation of how or why. Unique powers like that need explanation or a reason why. END SPOILERS
A lot of details were also left vague, unclear, or unexplained. While the initial world-building was excellent, too many questions were left unanswered. Not the least of which was what made the main Beth so different from all the other Beths around her.
But, all in all, a good book, and one I'd highly recommend to any dystopian fans!
Here's a Taste:
Cerberus strode out through the rear of the observation tower, leaving Quinton to his track and surveillance duties. The console zoomed in through trees to show the clear, glowing bright red outline of a young Internee, bent at the waist, visibly panting. Her hand gripped the tree beside her as she crouched, other hand planted firmly on her right knee to steady herself. She had lasted all of two minutes, the Ward Beacon surely must be having some kind of effect on her Implant Marker by now. Quinton looked more closely through the cracked monitor, admiring the sharp outline of her jaw, the defiant spread of her shoulders, as she leaned back against the tree, resisting the call.
“Go back,” he whispered.
She raised her head, as if sensing something.
He checked her file in the logs, Epsilon Circuit, three years trained, two years fight duty. Beth 259251. They were all marked as Beth, only the numbers would change between Internees. She was assigned to Epsilon Circuit due to a hormonal imbalance at fourteen. She had contracted a common autoimmune disorder, causing her fertility rating to drop to a 5.6, but it was her muscle mass that relegated her to the betting Circuit of Epsilon. Her muscle mass was far above regulation and despite her condition she was physically strong, testing high on agility. Her fight record was exemplary, a formidable opponent for any challenger from the Epsilon Internee fight pool.
The endurance monitor blipped. Her heart had begun to stutter. She had five, maybe six minutes to get back within the ward zone before her time ran down.
“Back, come on,” he muttered.
It was none of his concern, certainly nothing he would voice in front of the other Operators for fear of derision. The Internees were plentiful, and the common Epsilon fellows were worth far less than the price of a basic ration.
The endurance monitor spiked, displaying elevated cortisol and increased respiration. She clung to the bark under her fingers, scrabbling for equilibrium. He had seen this routine so many times before and had grown tired of the spectacle. He could do without another demonstration tonight.
Before long, Beth 259251 stood to her full height, appearing to move towards the ward zone. Quinton exhaled, shifting back in his seat, ready to log her return. She hesitated, then turned to face the sparse plains of the suspension zone. Each small step was heavy, but she persevered, dragging her body further from the tower reach. The beacon’s steady hum permeated the forest. Her hands crept up to cover her ears, routinely dropping back down in futility. One minute and forty-five seconds later she dropped to her knees, heart rate spiking, shuddering. The endurance monitor blipped once last time as her form faded to a dull green on the console.
“Recovery detail, suspension zone border.” He called out the coordinates into his radio, ignoring the crackle, repeating the details to ensure they had been received.
“Confirmed, Quinton. Log response time at 18:16.”
“Proceed as logged,” Quinton replied. He hissed a breath out through his teeth. The Epsilon fellow was no longer his concern.
About the Author:
Grace Hudson lives in Melbourne, Australia, land of sun, surf and drop bears!
She spends a lot of time in her writing cave but can be tempted to come out to check social media from time to time.
Her debut dystopian novel, "FERTS" was released in June 2015. Open Doors, an Aussie urban fantasy was released in Feb 2016. The Rogue Thread (Book 2 of FERTS) and Alpha Field (Book 3 of FERTS) are the latest releases for 2017.
Find the book on Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/FERTS-Book-1-Grace-Hudson-ebook/dp/B010II21DW/
Read Grace's thoughts on her website: http://www.gracehudson.net
Connect with her on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/GraceHudsonAuthor/
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