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This novella is set in the fictional land of Aradmore and tells the story of a society formed after years of drought gave a group of wealthy men - the Titans - the opportunity to take over and oppress the rest of the people, who were already struggling to make ends meet. They bought up all the land and are controlling everything; food supplies , business, employment, politics, law,…
The Titans and their associates live in big, walled cities, while the rest of the people live in reservations completely controlled by the Titans. They’re not allowed to move freely and have to work for the Titans.
The story follows James, Helena and their 3 children, who dream of a better life in the so-called Greenfields district. Nobody knows if this place, a supposedly free and independent society, really exists, but James and Helena are willing to take a chance…
The world building in this novella is very well done, the author gives an elaborate explanation of the way this society works and describes how politics, law, employment,… are organized. It’s an interesting concept and I think it would be a great base for a full length novel. This would not only allow the author to further elaborate on the Aradmore world, but also give him the opportunity to focus more on the development of the characters in the story, which I missed a bit in the novella, due to its short length. It would also give him the chance to continue the story at the point the novella actually ends, as I think it would be a nice addition to the story. Overall: very interesting story, but too short to come to its full potential.
I listened to the audiobook version, narrated by Michael Gilboe (length 1h14). The narration was well done, although the pace was quite fast, I’d preferred it to be a bit slower, but the fact that English isn’t my native language might have something to do with that.
The author provided me with a free copy of this audiobook in exchange for an unbiased review. All opinions expressed are my own.
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What I found interesting in this book was the look at how food shortages cause wretchedness and desperation. Other futuristic novels (like 1984) emphasize the loss of liberty in a totalitarian regime, but it is the food shortages that are felt most keenly and that destroy all quality of life. The characters are depicted with wry, satirical humor that makes this story an entertaining listen. It moves along nicely with many different settings. The narrator is excellent. If you like dystopias like 1984 and The Giver, you will enjoy this.