Author: Laura Frances
Slave is easily one of the best dystopians I’ve read in awhile (not falling into so many of the common “problems” of the genre). Written for a NA audience, this is clean enough for a YA readers(though there is some light torture that might be too much for a young YA reader).
Hannah is our MC and with the story being told in first person POV, I didn’t actually learn/retain her name until quite a way into the story. I was shocked when they said her name. I was like . . . wait, I didn’t know her name, but I feel so connected to “I”. I think that’s a testament to Frances’ ability to make her characters easy to relate to.
Hannah lives in a world that’s lost all of its beauty in more ways than one. There is no sunlight, grey clouds from the factories cover the sky, and I swear there’s no grass or trees, or nature anywhere in this miserable place. The people live in hovels with no luxuries or anything nice whatsoever. They are given just the bare essentials and live to work. Those who can’t work are cast out to live on the street. The absolute despair of the place seeps in everywhere and Hannah is a reflection of her world.
Sometimes being in a character’s head is not enjoyable for the reader, but I loved being in Hannah’s head. The book spends a lot of time there but it’s sooo well-done. Hannah is a product of her system. She’s terrified of everything, she’s completely cowed. Too often with dystopians the character is like “oh yeah, totally not affected by my crazy world and ready to rebel!” Hannah felt REAL and I couldn’t put her story down. I understood her fear, was freaking out with her when everything was normal but she and you KNOW the other shoe is going to drop any second!! She does the right thing, even when she’s scared. She’s not willing to take the chance that if she doesn’t make a good choice that someone else will, because what if they don’t?
The romance was slow, and I wouldn’t call it sweet but rather it had a depth and realness to it that fit the story. I already can’t wait for the second book to be out. And I so want that Aspen girl to DIE!!! She annoyed the heck out of me.
My only “complaint” was that I didn’t see the twist with one of the character’s identities (connection to the South) coming and didn’t feel like there was really any indicator (Hannah states that it made sense to her, but it didn’t make sense to me.) leading up to the point that the other characters deferred to this character in anyway or that there would be a reason for it.
Great story though! And so nice to read something with a slightly older cast.