Despite the lack luster cover this science fiction/fantasy debut novel by Emma Clayton is a fast paced thriller that takes place in a very bleak- near future. Human survival depended upon ‘The Wall’ that was built …to protect the population from the highly televised and dreaded Animal Plague, which caused all of nature to be destroyed. The world is now one of concrete and chemicals, poverty and a new government controlling the human population.
In the opening chapter we see a young girl trying to escape the the clutches of her kidnapper, Mal Gorman after she has learned “The Secret”. Only moments away from her home she is unfortunately re-captured. It is at the location of re-capture that we are then introduced to her twin brother Mika…..unknowingly the two share thoughts and feelings. Mika’s twin sister, Ellie, was kidnapped over a year ago and even their parents have given up hope and declared her dead. But Mika has always been able to feel that Ellie was alive somewhere. A series of circumstances develop and Mika begins his quest searching for his ‘dead’ sister.
I was hooked from the opening chapter in this page turner. Clayton has filled this novel with descriptive passages and has enough of the supernatural, suspense, drama and adventure mixed in with scenes of pod fighters battles, attacks by animal borgs, strange mental powers, that it will entice even the most reluctant reader!
This is a powerful book that will definitely get any reader thinking about mass media manipulation, ecology, environmentalism and technology.
Reading Level: Grade 6,7,8 (Junior, intermediate)
Genre: Science fiction; Fantasy; Suspense
Theme: Environmentalism; Technology; Video Games; Ecology; Government; Mass Media; Virtual reality
Similar Books: Gone by Grant; The Hunger Games by Collins; Ender’s Game by O. Scott Card; The Giver by Lowery; The Golden Compass by Pullman
and for younger readers: The Shadow Children series by Haddix