Now the first guest review is here and it is time to share it with you all! I hope you enjoy Susan McLeod's post and maybe even try her recommendation!
Thanks for sharing!
Absolutely Amazing Book Destined for Greatness
Review by Susan J. McLeod
In a world ravaged by a nuclear holocaust, Vika Cannon knows there are no guarantees: no guarantees of safety, no guarantees that your neighbor is not actually a spy for the government, and no guarantees you’ll be allowed to emigrate to a new life in Asia.
New Amana (as the North and South American continents are now called) is dying. Food and water are scarce, and people suffering from radiation-caused mutations—the Nukeheads—are the new class of homeless. To control the conditions, the government operates under a totalitarian regime.
Every resident of New Amana has only one purpose. Females must produce healthy progeny using Husbands the Match Clinic assigns. Unhealthy children are carted away to Asylums to be experimented on. Parents incapable of producing healthy progeny are put to death in gas chambers.
When Vika Cannon is assigned a Husband shortly after her twentieth birthday, she expects him to be complacent and obedient. But Shale Underwood has a secret. He is a member of the Radicals, the terrorist group intent on overthrowing the government. And Shale has information about Vika’s baby sister, Ceres, long since banished to the Asylums.
As she learns more about the Rads’s plan, Vika finds herself drawn to Shale in ways she’d never imagined. When freedom calls in the way of a healthy pregnancy, will she betray her government and risk death for Shale and Ceres?
World of Shell and Bone is as good as anything on the N.Y. Times bestseller list. It's the author's debut novel, but one would never know it. She writes with the skill and expertise of a seasoned pro. I read it until four in the morning, dreamed about it, and started back in when I got up. Yes, it is that riveting.
You can see the plot in the synopsis so I won't comment on it rather than to say that Adriana takes a familiar theme and makes it all her own. I don't want to give anything away. But her dystopian world is sadly and frighteningly believable. She uses beautiful, poetic words to paradoxically describe the ugliness of it. When victims of nuclear poisoning look at her, "Their eyes are insects that crawl across my neck, my cheek, my ear. Their whispers are fingers trailing through my hair." Contemplating suicide is "something I have thought of many times, turned over in my hands like a piece of pretty sea glass." It's brilliant language that never seems forced, but flows with the narrative.
The plot is exciting to say the least (4 o'clock, remember?) and the characters are fully realized humans, complex like all of us; cruel, kind, selfish, selfless, frightened and brave. There are political parallels one will recognize, but they're not shoved down your throat. The ultimate meaning is that it's wrong to repress any society.
World of Shell and Bone follows Vika Cannon's journey from "I am nothing more than a collection of genetic puzzle pieces--I understand and accept this fully" to-well, you'll have to read it! As Leonard Peikoff said of Ayn Rand, "she believes that the individual can never really be dominated--he or she will always resurface because freedom is part of the human makeup." Whether or not one agrees with the rest of Rand's philosophy, those are hopeful words. World is about resurfacing, and the power of the human spirit. It's a truly great book.
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