POVone: The First Person Perspective

Rants and Reviews on Novels Written in the First Person Point of View

Tag Archives: Dystopian

Book Review: The Fire Sermon by Francesca Haig

Author: Francesca Haig
Title: The Fire Sermon
Genre: Science Fiction
Publication Date: March 10, 2015
Publisher: Gallery (Simon and Schuster)
Number of Pages: 384
Narrator: Cassandra

The Fire Sermon by Francesca Haig

What’s It About?

Cassandra has been born into a post-apocalyptic world in which all people who procreate give birth to twins–one who is perfectly normal and another who is plagued with some sort of deformity. The parents keep the healthy offspring, called Alphas, and exile the unhealthy children, called Omegas to live in poverty and subjugation.

Omegas cannot procreate, but they do have one advantage that keeps the Alphas from getting rid of them altogether. The Omegas stay connected somehow to their Alpha counterparts such that when one twin dies, so does the other. The ruling party of the Alphas, called the Council, is on a perpetual search to understand how to exterminate Omegas without affecting their Alpha Twins.

Cassandra is an Omega–but a rare and special kind. Called a Seer, Cassandra receives premonitions about the future. Though her “deformity” gives her certain advantages, she is still cast out by the Alphas and even finds it difficult to be accepted among the Omegas. At the beginning of the novel, Cass is taken captive by her Alpha brother–who has risen to a position of influence in the Alpha Council.

After months in imprisonment , Cass finally receives the opportunity to escape. Freeing another prisoner as she flees, Cass ventures out in search of a fabled Island–in which Omegas are allowed to live in freedom and safety. As they travel from town to town, avoiding the Council, Cass and her companion begin to understand the political upheaval going on in the Council and the sinister role her brother is playing in the future of Alphas and Omegas.

Should You Read It?

If you are a fan of the post-apocalyptic dystopian genre, you will probably enjoy the book. The story takes place in the future after an alleged nuclear holocaust at some point in the distant past. In this dystopian future, people are divided into two classes–much like in the recent Red Queen. The storyline also has a genetic element–some akin to that of the movie Gattaca. The writing is straightforward, with a lot of movement and little introspection. If this sounds like an interesting read to you, I would try it out.

Links and References

Author Information: Author Page (Publisher), Goodreads, Twitter

Book Reviews: Kirkus Reviews, That’s Normal, Civilian Reader

Purchase: Buy It On Amazon.com

Other Books By Francesca Haig: The Fire Sermon is Francesca Haig’s debut novel, but she has written a collection of poetry called Bodies of Water (2006).

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Book Review: Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard

Author: Victoria Aveyard
Title: Red Queen
Genre: Young Adult, Dystopian, Urban Fantasy
Publication Date: February 10, 2015
Publisher: HarperTeen (HarperCollins)
Number of Pages: 400
Narrator: Mare Barrow
Amazon.com Reviewer Grade: B+, Very Good; of the first 464 reviews, the average reader rating was 88.53%.

Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard

What’s It About?

Protagonist Mare Barrow is a seemingly insignificant teenage girl living in a future world divided into two races. Mare and her family are “Reds,” the commoners of society characterized by their red blood. Ruling over her class are the “Silvers,” characterized by their silver blood. In addition to the color of their blood, the Silvers are distinguished from the Reds in that they possess supernatural abilities such as superior strength and power over the elements.

The Reds who are fortunate enough to learn a trade use their skills to enter into a career of service. Those who possess no craft, however, must enter the military and be sent to the front lines to die in the Silvers’ war.

Mare possesses no skill and believes she is destined to become another casualty of the Silvers’ war. Fate intervenes, however, and a prince from the Silver royal family takes pity on her. The prince, who becomes a mild love interest, hires her as a servant in the kingdom. As she enters into the world of the Silvers, however, she discovers that–even though her blood is red–she possesses a superhuman gift of her own.

To keep the peace between the races, Mare is forced to pretend she is a lost princess returned to the kingdom. Walking the line between becoming a Silver and remaining a Red, Mare struggles with her identity. As rumors of rebellion begin to circulate, she must decide who’s side she is on–and who she can trust to be on that side with her.

Should You Read It?

If you’re a fan of the young adult dystopian stories like Hunger Games and Divergent, you’ll love this book. The themes of class distinction and rebellion are strong undercurrents. If you’re into paranormal romance stories like Twilight, you may also enjoy Red Queen–although the romance is very light and the story has more to do with Mare’s struggle with her identify than it does with her love life. The writing style is fast-paced and to-the-point, with plenty of plot twists and teasers closing nearly every chapter. If all this sounds up your alley, I would give it a shot.

Links and References

Author Information: Website, Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, Epic Reads (Publisher)

Book Reviews: USA Today, Kirkus Reviews

Purchase: Buy It On Amazon.com

Other Books by Victoria Aveyard: Red Queen is Victoria Aveyard’s debut novel.