After a pandemic decimates the American population, people gather together in different areas: The Safe Lands, Glenrock, and Jack’s Peak. Glenrock is a small family community that has successfully avoided the virus. However, in the Safe Lands, nearly everyone is infected and is unable to bear children, a side effect of the virus. Omar, in a misguided effort to gain his father’s approval, sells out his village to the enforcers and everyone is either killed or taken captive to the Safe Lands. The Glenrock villagers will either assimilate into the population by performing their tasks, which include forced surrogacy for the women, or be killed. Omar’s brothers, Mason and Levi, are desperate to free their people. Will the Glenrock people escape from the Safe Lands before it is too late?
This is one of the best dystopian novels I’ve read in a long time. Williamson’s writing is so descriptive and detailed and the characters have so many layers. Some do the wrong things for the right reasons, while others do the right things despite great danger to themselves. Throughout the book Williamson weaves a message of faith in personal beliefs and family. Even though Omar did such a horrible thing to his village, I found myself rooting for him, that he wouldn’t fall into the trap of the Safe Lands. I also love the strength of character that the main characters display. The best thing about this book is all the surprises. There were several times that I gasped out loud when something completely unexpected happened. I love books like that!
Readers can also see commonalities between the culture of the Safe Lands and our culture. The population follows the fads and trends of celebrities with little thought as to who they are or what they believe in; and relationships are taken lightly, whether between couples, parents, or families. Williamson does a great job of looking forward to the future and imagining how technology might look and even how the slang words might develop in a realistic way.
This book is not a quick read because of all the descriptive elements and numerous characters to keep track of. However, I really enjoyed this book and imagining all the different scenes Williamson describes. There is also a lot of suspense in this book and questions as to whether Safe Land characters are good or bad. The only thing I didn’t like about the book was the ending. Not all of my questions are answered and now I have to wait until book two comes out! However, I think that is a good problem to have!
Although this book is geared toward teens, as most of the main characters are in their teens, I really enjoyed this book and think other adults would enjoy it as well. If you are a fan of The Hunger Games series and the Divergent series, you will probably enjoy this book. I can’t wait for book two to come out!
I received a complimentary copy of this book from BookSneeze in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are my own.