Friday, November 12, 2010
A fable of a terrifying near future by critically acclaimed author Elizabeth Scott.
Grace was raised to be an Angel, a herald of death by suicide bomb. But she refuses to die for the cause, and now Grace is on the run, daring to dream of freedom. In search of a border she may never reach, she travels among malevolent soldiers on a decrepit train crawling through the desert. Accompanied by the mysterious Kerr, Grace struggles to be invisible, but the fear of discovery looms large as she recalls the history and events that delivered her uncertain fate.
Told in spare, powerful prose, this tale of a dystopian near future will haunt readers long after they've reached the final page.
Before I begin my review, let me first mention that, before reading the book, I didn't like the cover at all. I thought it was odd, strangely done, but, after reading, the cover makes sense to me and I love it. Also, before I begin, let me mention that I am in love with Elizabeth Scott's chameleonesque quality in her writing. She writes chick-lit, she writes romance, she writes dark and gritty, and then she writes this. Amazing. Kudos to you, Elizabeth Scott.
After finishing this book, I really had no idea what to say. What could I say? The entire novel takes place on a train where only small events take place. The majority of the novel and action takes place through memories, thoughts, which I wasn't sure I liked. I do believe this sort of back and forth between present day and the past (non-linear) is called modernist writing, and I loved how Elizabeth Scott took on this new way of writing I have yet to see in YA before.
The intensity of the book is only further brought out by Elizabeth Scott's stark writing. Rather than give you a paragraph on how the train smells, she tells you in a single word that captures everything. Simply beautiful, is all I can say for the writing.
As for the characters, I feel as though they were developed more here than in her other books. Grace and Kerr grew as characters through the novel, though time didn't pass. How could this be, you ask. How can an author develop characters without passing much time? The simple answer: I don't know, but Elizabeth Scott does it wonderfully.
And that's the thing about Grace. I'm still mind blown as to how anything happened. They sat on a train for nearly the entire book yet so much happened! I can't describe this frustration (though perhaps that's not the right word for what I'm feeling because frustration carries a negative connotation and this is by far not negative) at not being able to figure out how she does what she does, but she does and that's what matters.
See, even here you can see how completely mind blown I am. I can't even write a regular review. I'm still tossing over the ideas in my head despite it being so long since I read the book. I can't fathom everything completely yet. I can't understand everything that happened, but this future world with character was developed and I fell in love, sucked into the book.
From page one, Elizabeth Scott sucks you in and refuses to let you go. She pounds words down your throat that you don't know the meaning of, and flashes various scenarios in front of your eyes that you don't understand but feel the gravity of, and you're trapped. Completely and utterly trapped. The only way out is to finish the book, and you will finish it breathless.