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Book Review

Publisher's Note:

200 years after the world ends, their future begins. In 2157, a mysterious gas known as Variant spreads across the globe, killing or mutating most organic life. The surviving humans take refuge in an underground city, determined to return home. But after generations of failures and botched attempts, hope is beginning to dwindle. That is, until a young scientist makes a unique discovery--and everything changes. Suddenly, there's reason to hope again, and it rests within a group of genetically engineered children that are both human and Variant. Terry is one of these children, modified and trained to endure the harsh conditions of a planet he cannot begin to understand. After years of preparation, Terry thinks he knows what to expect. But the reality is far stranger than anything he can imagine--and what he will become is far more dangerous.…

Overall Book Review:

Once again, the human race is struggling to survive.  It’s not a world we would recognize but rather a world from the depths of our minds.  

The author, J.N. Chaney, has painted a world that is easy to imagine.  It’s reminiscent of the City of Ember Series yet so much more.  There are a few things that aren’t fully described or fleshed out but that does not detract from the story.   

Filled with believable characters in a realistic dystopian world, this tale is engaging.  It’s nice to see so many of the supporting characters who are likable and interesting be so well-developed.  It wasn’t hard to become invested in the lives of the characters as they grow and advance.  The main story is about the kids but the people who surround them also have something to tell. 

Sometimes it’s hard to see the leaders of a Dystopian world as bad guys as they try to save their “world.”  We might find ourselves asking how far should they go to save humanity?  Should they be willing to take chances or experiment with lives?  JN Chaney did a good job of keeping me in suspense.  In the end, in this world, true motives are revealed.  It was also nice to see how women have control over their bodies and reproduction because “Motherhood” is a job and they have fought for their place in their community.

A dystopian story may seem routine, but this one, with all its twists, is unique.  The author has intertwined two very separate parts of the story dealing with adult issues and kid issues.  At first, they seem one and the same but ultimately they are loaded with political intrigue and power struggles.  Told through multiple points of view so the reader can see this future from many different sides, these characters are ultimately just trying to survive and have a future.  Dystopian novels can often be depressing but this tale is well-written and the story doesn’t end here.  There are four books in this series and the author has written ten books so far with more on the way.  

Content Analysis:

Profanity/Language:  10 religious exclamations; 62 mild obscenities; 11 derogatory names; 5 scatological words; 5 anatomical terms. 

Violence/Gore:  Children exposed to scientific experimentation; children dead from scientific experimentation; one boy repeatedly picks on other kids, minor injuries; a teen boy dies, somewhat descriptive; a teen boy is injured, some blood; teens realize they are standing among decomposed bodies; teens come across a lot of blood; teens find another teen dying; man hires an assassin to kill a woman; woman shot at; a big beast attacks a teen boy & kills him, lots of blood however very little description; teens find several decaying bodies, gory, some description; two teen boys fight, gun shots, threats; teen boy threatens teen girl’s life with a gun; teen boy tries to kill other teens, lots of blood, broken bones; teen boy killed; a description of a still born baby, some description, blood. 

Sex/Nudity:  Remembering the first time she got pregnant, woman remembers her first time with man and how she got pregnant, brief description but not detailed; mention of people not caring who they “bedded” with; kids told to strip off their clothes for medical experimentation, non-sexual; implied sexual favors with a leader.

Mature Subject Matter:

The apocalypse, class bully, sexual favors, scientific experimentation on children, still-born children.

Alcohol / Drug Use:

2 women share a bottle of wine.

Overall Book Rating

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About the Reviewer

Reading a good adventure story has always been a vacation in the theater of my mind. When I’m stressed or just need to get away for a few minutes, I love the opportunity to climb into somebody else’s world. I didn’t enjoy reading until I was in the Air Force and building bombs in Korea; it was a wonderful distraction from the real world. (I tried bull riding, but it wasn’t exciting enough.)