In very few words, Rosanne Rivers conjures up a new dystopian world which is peopled by vivid characters. It is a dystopian world where debts have to be repaid; a world where city states are isolated and enclosed. It is a world governed by a few powerful Shepherds who control the lives of the powerless masses. Here, every move a person makes is traced, and some people strive for the power to achieve some level of control over their own lives and exert a hold over the lives of others, sometimes without considering the consequences.
In this world lives a teenaged girl called Sola, and at the beginning, her tribulations are barely a breath away. Too soon, Sola learns what it is like to undergo trials, Demonstrations, to live to fight and worse still, to fight to survive. Rosanne Rivers’ writing evokes empathy with Sola’s pain and dilemma, makes the reader fall a little bit in love with Dylan, worry for Alixis following the revelation, to see Coral for what she is; and keep guessing about what Shepherd Fines is really like.
There are some editing issues, but they don’t detract from the story too much, except for in one or two places where a suspected missing word creates a little confusion. But these are nothing that cannot be fixed in a reprint, and nothing major to worry about.
There is lots of scope for a second book; lots of story left for Rosanne Rivers to explore. Does Shepherd Fines come good? Is he true to his word to Alixis? If not, what happens to her? What happens to Dylan? And what happens to Sola? Who does she become? Exactly what happened to Coral?
I’m now waiting patiently for a sequel which will provide the answers…