Title: The Dystopian Nation of City-State: An Anthology: Origin, Corruption, and Rebellion
Author: Courtney James, Kaisy Wilkerson-Mills
Published: 20th Nov 2014
Genre: Science-Fiction, YA (12 to 18)
I must confess this is not my usual kind of book, and I read it as it were by mistake. I have a long list of books to read, organised (?) according to how pressing the reviews are (I review for a digital magazine, also in Netgalley, and for a literary blog apart from sharing in my own blog and in a variety of places) and I got confused. When I realised this was not the next book on my list, I’d read around 70% of it so I couldn’t see much point in switching over. And I was gripped by the story/stories of this strange futuristic universe.
This is an episodic book, a collection of scenes and snippets, that can result a bit jarring when reading, but the whole picture of this dystopian future that is created through the variety of accounts and scenes becomes an almost coherent (and pretty scary) whole.
Not being a big sci-fi reader, I didn’t particularly miss the technological detail (although I think good aficionados might have something to say about buildings 200 storeys high. I loved the idea of an Olympus space-floating island where only the elite could live. I can imagine the technological challenge) whilst I happily connected with some of the darkest aspects of the story, like the strange cult that requires human sacrifices, the extremes of social prejudice and classification (that reminded me of Huxley’s A Brave New World) and the extremely corrupt politics.
The language was very simple and I thought the book could have benefited from another pair of eyes on the proofreading, editing stage, but the typos did not become distracting. It was an easy read although some people might appreciate more detail regarding descriptions of the layers of the world and the new technology. Considering the book is listed as for ages between 12 and 18 it probably pitches at the right level.
I’m not sure if there are plans for carrying on writing the series, but I felt with a bit more work connecting the episodes, there is very good material and fascinating ideas to get imaginations fired up. And as happens with the best dystopias, it makes one think about our world today.
It might be too fractured for some readers, but if you approach it with an open mind and are interested in dystopias and exploring possible future scenarios, there’s much to enjoy in this book.
Realistic Characterization: 3.5/5
Made Me Think: 4/5
Overall enjoyment: 4/5
Overall Rating: 4/5
Buy it at: Amazon
Format & Pricing: e-book
Olga Núñez Miret