Wednesday, June 10, 2009

The Roar by Emma Clayton (3/5 stars)

I got this book as an Advanced Reading Copy from the Amazon Vine program. This was an interesting book with a few creative elements and many not so creative elements.

Ellie has been kidnapped by a man seeking to develop her "powers" for some unknown purpose. Mika is her twin left behind; everyone believes Ellie is dead except for him. They both live in a world where the northern hemisphere of the earth is walled in order to protect humans from the evil Animals infected with the Animal Plague a generation before them. Ellie it trying to get home and Mika is trying to find a way to get to Ellie despite the fact no one believes she is alive.

This was a fast paced, engaging read. It had some creative elements in the idea of an Animal Plague wiping out half of the earth. Unfortunately it had more uncreative elements in it. For example trapping a subset of humanity behind an enclosure and telling them they are all that is left is a concept explored in many novels. Also genetically modifying kids to develop special talents for fighting or humans morphing to a new species are also both topics that have been overdone in both books and film. Still, if you like reading novels about these types of things this could be the book for you. Personally I thought that this story rehashed a lot of the stories out there. If you are interested in this type of story I think The Storm Thief, The Tripods series, The Hunger Games, and The Diamond Age do this type of story in a more creative and better way that this book does. A lot of people also like The City of Ember (although it wasn't a favorite of mine) and this explores a similar type of story.

What really got me about this book was the end. The ending is rushed and very unsatisfying. This book is either blatantly setting up the reader for a new series or the author just had absolutely no idea how to end the book. Many of the main events in the book were left unresolved and other events are only partially or quickly wrapped up. Nothing about this book was surprising mainly because there are already so many books like this available; especially in the young adult category.

This book is a quick read about isolating humanity in a post-Armageddon type walled city; it is also about genetic modification. If you are really into these topics this isn't a bad read, but it is not an especially mind-blowing or enlightening read either. I personally don't think I will be looking into any more of Clayton's work; it just wasn't creative enough.

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