Arrow Books 2013
The children were playing as Holston climbed to his death…
I rarely ever read books when they come out. It’s not a fully intentional thing, although I do tend to avoid things that are surrounded by too much hype. I guess I just don’t like to be told what to read. Taste in books is a very personal thing and I guard it jealously. This means that I avoid any book I see advertised on billboards or on bestseller lists, almost defiantly. I may read one of these books once the hubub has died down, as long as it has an interesting premise. Does reading something after it’s cool make me some kind of literary anti-hipster? I don’t know. Let’s not start with the name-calling.
I’ve always liked doing my own thing independently from what the crowd is doing, but I will admit that sometimes I take it a bit far. I didn’t start watching the X-Files until the re-runs started playing because I couldn’t stand that everyone was making such a fuss over it. Turns out that it became one of my favourite shows. So yeah, I need to work on this little quirk of mine.
I’m telling you all of this because I hesitated when I found this book in the book store. I first saw it advertised on the underground during my daily commute and immediately dismissed it and moved on with my life. Then I saw a couple of threads about it on Goodreads which I didn’t read because I knew that they would be spoilerific. (It doesn’t matter if I don’t intend to read a book. I hate spoilers.) I did read the premise of the novel and I didn’t want to want to read this book. Given my intense love of dystopia, I decided to get over myself and give it a shot.
Thank goodness for my sudden onset of common sense!
Nutshell blurb: The atmosphere of Earth has become so toxic that people now live inside a silo that goes deep underground. Occasionally, people are sent outside to clean the cameras that transmit images of the outside to the people who live inside. The cleaning is a death sentence reserved for criminals although sometimes people volunteer. These are usually people who have gotten too close to the truth.
As awesome as I thought this book was, I almost put it down at one point. The first 40 or so pages gripped me completely. Was Holston really climbing to his death or would he be saved at the last minute? What’s this book about? OMG WHAT’S GOING TO HAPPEN???
And then we switch to a different PoV for nearly 100 pages and it sent me straight to Dullsville. Population: Me. Why are we following this person? Where is this story going? I found it to be incredibly tedious and I wondered if I could be bothered to finish it.
If this had been a library book, I might have put it back in the bag to go back. But, I bought it and I felt compelled to soldier on.
I’m so glad that I did.
Once we actually got to the main character’s PoV things improved drastically. The action picked up as did the suspense and I zipped through the rest of the 500+ pages in no time. (It helped that I was on holiday as well.)
The main character was interesting as were many of the secondary ones. The problems they faced were intense and left me desperate to know what was going to happen.
Once I got further into the book, I realised the relevance of the part which I thought was dull and when I read the book again (and I’m sure that I will at some point) I don’t think that I’ll find it as boring.
I’m definitely glad that I stuck with it and I’m looking forward to reading the next one.