Author: Jill Williamson
Published by: Zondervan (2013)
My Rating: ★★★★★
SUMMARY FROM GOODREADS:
In a dystopian future, eighteen-year-old Levi returns from Denver City with his latest scavenged treasures and finds his village of Glenrock decimated, loved ones killed, and many--including his fiancée, Jem--taken captive. Now alone, Levi is determined to rescue what remains of his people, even if it means entering the Safe Lands, a walled city that seems anything but safe.
Omar knows he betrayed his brother by sending him away, but helping the enforcers was necessary. Living off the land and clinging to an outdated religion holds his village back. The Safe Lands has protected people since the plague decimated the world generations ago ... and its rulers have promised power and wealth beyond Omar's dreams.
Meanwhile, their brother Mason has been granted a position inside the Safe Lands, and may be able to use his captivity to save not only the people of his village, but also possibly find a cure for the virus that threatens everyone within the Safe Lands' walls. Will Mason uncover the truth hidden behind the Safe Lands' façade before it's too late?
I LOVED THIS BOOK ON SO MANY LEVELS.
Clean, Christian, action-packed, suspensful, amazing characters, plot twists, dystopian but felt realistic…there was nothing to not like about this book. The characters were so real—in fact, after I finished it I found myself itching to see them again and then feeling great disappointment when I realized I had finished. (BUT there’s two more books!!!) I loved the unique and distinct personalities, and I loved that it wasn’t directly targeted to either boys or girls; uusally dystopians like this have a strong pull one way but this book is truly for everyone.
Setting-wise, this was also amazing. In a world full of cliche dystopians, it’d very hard to create an original world, but Jill Willaimson did and did so in an astonishing way. It felt very distinct from the dystopian genre, and I really liked that aspect. I loved the clever parrallels drawn to today’s society, however at times I thought it was trying to be a little too similiar. The society was developed well and the struggles illustrated in depth.
Though I would say this book was clean, it was a very mature read. In the society which has captured our main characters, the girls fourteen and over are forced into a “harem” where they learn they will be forced to surrogate and carry pregnancies to support this world because they are Uninfected. One other scene with one straying character implies he has slept with his girlfriend.
I ALSO LOVED THE CHARACTERS. So many of them, and yet they all were unique—for the most part. Some characters, like Jennifer or Aunt Chipeta or Eliza—I'm still not sure who they are or their importance, for they get very very little time “onscreen” so to say and I felt they became names floating in the background. Not to say I didn’t get why they were there, but I do think it was the one area this book fell a little flat.
Excepting that, the characters were phenomanel…
Characters like Mason, brave, smart, and logical;
Characters like Levi, strong, confident, and protective;
Characters like Omar, umm
Characters like Shaylinn, kind, curious, unafraid;
Characters like Jemma, smart, loving, and wise…
The list could go on and on.
All the storylines drew together to create a painting that made me grimace, worry, smile, and laugh. Williamson has immense amounts of talent for creating persuading settings and plots and I can. not. wait. to read the next book. 5.0 Stars—recommended ages 14 & up.