An invisible, uncrossable physical barrier encloses the Unified States. The Line is the part of the border that lopped off part of the country, dooming the inhabitants to an unknown fate when the enemy used a banned weapon. It’s said that bizarre creatures and superhumans live on the other side, in Away. Nobody except tough old Ms. Moore would ever live next to the Line. Nobody but Rachel and her mother, who went to live there after Rachel’s dad died in the last war. It’s a safe, quiet life. Until Rachel finds a mysterious recorded message that can only have come from Away. The voice is asking for help. Who sent the message? Why is her mother so protective? And to what lengths is Rachel willing to go in order to do what she thinks is right? (From Amazon.ca)
It’s an interesting book within many in the current trend of dystopian fiction. What I really enjoyed is the clever idea of the background on how the setting came to be in form of a history lesson from Rachel’s mom. She poses it in a question and answer (Rachel gives the answers in good detail) format so the reader is informed on the background information needed to understand this novel.
It does take a while to get started, despite the length of this novel (about 219 pages) I’m not sure why the pace was unbelievably slow for such a thin book. You do feel a lengthy lull and you wonder where this is all going to end up. Also, I am not sure what to think about Rachel. One the one hand, I liked her for her strength to do what was right, regardless of the consequences. Yet there was just something about her that I didn’t like. Perhaps it was her personality?
The book does take a turn for the more interesting as it progresses. Despite the fact that I am not really a fan of Rachel in the first place, she does develop into quite a character within the last third of the book. When she meets Pathik, things get even more interesting and you’re left with a tremendous cliffhanger at literally, the very last pages of the book. That got me pulling my hair out.
What irked me the most about the book is the name of other countries besides the US (Unified States). What was that all about? why were they named such strange names and how did it come to be? to be truthful, the names of these other countries sound like they should be different planets instead. Maybe they’re inhabited by aliens? I don’t know, it sure sounds like it though. Although the pace of the book was slower than usual, it changes towards the end and the pace suddenly becomes faster than the speed of light. It’s inconsistent and uneven.
I will look for the second book only because this one ended in such a huge cliffhanger I am curious to know what’s going to happen next. Not sure if I could recommend this one, take it or leave it as there are much better novels featuring dystopias out there.
I give it a 7/10