AUTHOR: Tim Lott
PUBLISHER: Walker Books
GENRE: Young Adult, Dystopian, Fantasy, Science Fiction
RATING: 4.5/5 Stars
In the not-too-distant future, the world is safe from terrorists, the streets are clean, and girls labelled "juvies" or "mindcrips" have been hidden away behind the smartly painted exterior of the City Community Faith School. Their birth names are forgotten and replaced with a letter and number, but they give each other nicknames like Tattle or Stench or Little Fearless. As they slave away at chores, Little Fearless, who is actually the bravest girl in the school, tells the other girls stories, stories about the day their families will return for them. Little Fearless’s own hope and conviction spur her on a dangerous adventure — a bold and unthinkable plan that will either save the imprisoned girls or mean the end of Little Fearless herself, or both.
What I Liked:
- While the Dystopian and Sci-Fi elements were in this book, I adored the fact that it read so much like a Fairy Tale! There were familiar repetitive elements, and Folk Tale like conversation where people don't quite speak in a way that's familiar to us! I really liked the writing and the way that Lott intertwined Sci-Fi and Fantasy. It was simple in it's plot and storytelling, yet really effective in making me actually feel something for the events of the book!
- I thought the premise was pretty interesting for this book and Lott put a great deal of work into building the world, even if the plot was simple. Dystopian is a genre that I enjoy in small doses so it was actually refreshing not to have so much action flung in my face. I've seen hierarchy explored so much in Dystopian novels but this did it on a smaller scale that I enjoyed. It also touched upon interesting themes such as extremism, terrorism, religion and ethics as well as the obvious child abuse/neglect.
- The characters, while not extremely complex, were very likeable and I enjoyed their flaws as well as their good points. Little Fearless was a great heroine: brave, selfless and clever too! I liked the villains too, especially the Controller and the creepy Whistler. Stench was a really interesting character too a little slow but probably the most complex of the entire book.
What I Disliked:
- The book, while enjoyable to me, definitely lacked refinement and sophistication. In part it could have been due to being aimed at a younger audience, but mostly I found that the feel of the book would probably have been improved without the repetition and strange conversations that I mentioned earlier! While I enjoyed these things, I can fully see that others will not and find them too simplistic, immature and maybe even boring.
For me, this was an excellent book that lacked substance and depth, but contained so much heart that I loved it anyway. Like a strange, Sci-Fi Fairy Tale, it had an almost flawless hero to root for, a terrifying villain a few good twists and turns and the magical inclusion of folk tale like tropes. I really liked it as a Dystopian that focuses less on constant action and more on the world it's building and message it's sending. Great job Tim Lott!