Published by Barbican Press on 2013-06
I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange honest review consideration. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
A modern teenage dystopia. The world has seen no girls born for sixteen years. Karen was the last girl and Steven her twin. Their Dad's of the old school. He turns their garden into a fortress. His children may yet be the future of the world, if they can escape in time. Think HUNGER GAMES or a CATCHER IN THE RYE for the Doom Generation. Of Martin Goodman's earlier work: 'Heralds a new dawn for British writing' - Liverpool Daily Post 'Goodman's novel soars' - The Times
Wow. This book was hard. Really hard.
Think: A Clockwork Orange, The Handmaid’s Tale, and 1984 all squashed together. I think that I really liked it. I’m still reeling a bit. I kept thinking of the old adage, ‘If men could get pregnant, then abortion would be a sacrament.’
This is a dark near-future dystopia. I dislike the term ‘gritty’ but I can’t think of a better adjective for this novel. It’s told primarily from the point of view of Stephen-turned-Bender who is an incredibly unreliable narrator.
Gender issues and identity are expertly explored. Karen and Stephen as twins and Karen is the last girl to be born. I agree with a previous reviewer that it would have been nice to have a better fleshed out worldview in this dystopia. Why are there no more girls being born? What exactly is Cromozone? I don’t mind being left with questions but the ‘world building’ constructed in this novel left me a little empty.
There seemed to be an overemphasis on Stephen’s teensquad and I think that cutting down large portions of those sections might have made the novel more accessible.
It requires a careful reading and does lend to questioning what reality really is and how we define it. If you love dystopias and speculative fiction – then this one might be for you – but it is incredibly heavy and although it’s not that long, it takes time wade through the narrative.
Also. I hate the cover art. You can decide on that for yourself.