Monday, September 3, 2012

review: flawless ruins

Kieryn Nicolas
Echelon Press
(bought as ebook)
The world that Morgan Waters knows is perfect. She has a wonderful mother, great friends, and access to all the material possessions she could want. Girls train for illustrious careers while still having time to hang out with their friends. And when they turn 17, each girl has an Amora -- a special ceremony where they meet their Like. Their perfect, practically tailor-made mate. The Likes adore them and take care of the less-glamorous aspects of life: laundry, dirty houses, etc. They dote on the women and, as far as Morgan knows, this is the way it's always been: there are women and there are Likes.

But one night, accidentally out past curfew, Morgan meets another type altogether. Neil, who looks like a Like except for the fact that he's messier, louder, and not attached to any woman. He's a man. A boy. Something Morgan didn't realize even existed. And thus follows the typical story arc of Morgan digging deeper into the realities of her "perfect" society and discovering astonishing things -- pasts, motivations, and entire cities -- that she had no idea about.

This is such a weird book, guys. There are some obvious problems in building a society like this -- one made up entirely of women, one where a teenage girl has no idea that men even exist. And while the book explains away some of the inherent problems, if you think about it too deeply it still makes no sense. There's quite a bit of suspension of disbelief needed to make this world work, so I opted to just not think about the world itself and focus on Morgan and her story. Surprisingly, this book is told from both Morgan and Neil's perspectives -- but it's so obviously Morgan's story and while Neil's chapters didn't exactly feel superfluous, they also sort of felt like just biding time between Morgan's chapters.

This book didn't shatter expectations. It's not a masterpiece of dystopic or sci-fi work, but it is a surprisingly enjoyable read. Morgan's pretty shallow on the surface, but this quickly gives way to a very, very determined girl whose principles surprise even her. As she uncovers more startling secrets about her world and how it's run she also finds herself falling more and more for Neil, whose life isn't nearly as cushy and safe as hers (to say the least). The characters here aren't as complex or fully developed as I generally like, but the story itself is a bit lighter than expected as well. Despite the heaviness of the plot and this messed-up society, the writing keeps everything from getting too depressing mostly by the fact that there's rarely much doubt that Morgan will win out against the more nefarious forces in her city.

This is a light, but fully weird book with one of the more messed-up dystopians I've seen (or, you know, maybe just messed up in a different sort of way). It's not earth-shattering, but it is enjoyable enough.

No comments:

Post a Comment