Set in the Republic of America in 2130 AD, the reader is immediately drawn in by the opening words ‘My mother thinks I’m dead.’ and surrounded by the dystopian landscape of giant viewscreens transmitting propaganda and Wanted posters. The narrator Day is sitting on a ledge, three storeys up watching soldiers move from house to house, forcing the inhabitants to give samples of their blood. A plague is sweeping through this district and this is where his family live.
The story is told in two voices: Day, who survives on the streets, an infamous fugitive from the law and June, who lives in the highest echelons of society, training to become a top soldier and leader. When June’s brother is killed, she is authorised to hunt for his murderer, which leads her to Day.
The reality of meeting Day presents June with a mystery that she must solve. Her brother’s murder, Day’s history and the plague are all linked, but how? As the layers are peeled back June comes face-to-face with the brutality of the regime that she represents and discovers a resistance group that has grown under its oppression.
The sets and pacy narratives are resonant of the virtual realities of the games playing world, their familiarity will appeal to teenage players. Marie Lu is an ideal author for today’s publisher because as a games designer, she can use her skills in promotion via www.marielu.org, You Tube and Facebook. All of which are promotional gifts for the school librarian too. Dystopia is a genre on the rise in books and film, hence CBS are in talks with the producers of Twilight to make the film, Legend. Fortunately for the reader, there is the substance of a compelling story well told, behind the glamour and promotion.