Sunday, March 5, 2017

Lotus and Thorn by Sara Wilson Etienne

On a world called Gabriel, the descendants of the human colonists live two vastly different lives. The Citizens, small, brown people scavenge the ruins of a destroyed city for ancient artifacts while facing frequent outbreaks of hemorrhagic fever epidemics. The Citizens trade the artifacts for food from the larger, stronger, and healthier, but diverse Curadores who wear isolation suits when leaving their high tech dome. Leica,  an outcast from the Citizens, becomes a concubine in the Dome after meeting a Edison, a Curadore, when she finds a radio that seems to be getting a transmission from Earth while in exile in the desert.

I loved the Hispanic and Korean bits incorporated into the background of the characters. The world building made me think of books such as Dune by Frank Herbert, The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood, and Girl of Fire and Thorns by Rae Carson.

It has great teen appeal with lots to think about but adults will enjoy it as well. The science fiction aspects make sense (even though not necessarily at first). The genetic engineering, artificial intelligence, technology, and nanotechnology, are integral to the story. The interpersonal relationships, kickass shero, echoes of a fairy tale, social and religious commentary, and political machinations combine to make this a great read.

Friday, March 3, 2017

Flawed by Cecelia Ahern

In a contemporary country where perfection is paramount, a court of three judges in the Guild decides if people are Flawed and imparts judgement that can result in imprisonment or branding. Giving assistance to anyone judged to be Flawed is considered a major Flaw. When well-liked, attractive, good student, Celestine North, the daughter of a model and a journalist sees a Flawed old man on the bus about to collapse she helps him into a vacant seat for for the Flawless. She is arrested and in a political maelstrom determined to be Flawed starting up an uprising. 

           Celestine is a wonderful character who while always trying to be perfect still discovers there is more to life. The dystopian society is horrifying, reminiscent of Salem during the witch trials. I'm looking forward to seeing more from Ahern in the future.