Just when I think I’m over the dystopian or futuristic totalitarian government thing, I read something that gets me excited all over again about these types of books, and today’s sci-fi/dystopia hybrid What I Just Read definitely got my psyched about the genre again!
What I Just Read: Dove Arising by Karen Bao
What’s It About (Jacket Description): Phaet Theta has lived her whole life in a colony on the Moon. She’s barely spoken since her father died in an accident nine years ago. She cultivates the plants in Greenhouse 22, lets her best friend talk for her, and stays off the government’s radar.
Then her mother is arrested.
The only way to save her younger siblings from the degrading Shelter is by enlisting in the Militia, the faceless army that polices the Lunar bases and protects them from attacks by desperate Earth dwellers. Training is brutal, but it’s where Phaet forms an uneasy but meaningful alliance with the preternaturally accomplished Wes, a fellow outsider.
Rank high, save her siblings, free her mom: that’s the plan. Until Phaet’s logically ordered world begins to crumble…
Suspenseful, intelligent, and hauntingly prescient, Dove Arising stands on the shoulders of our greatest tales of the future to tell a story that is all too relevant today.
Did I Like It: I really, really did!
Thoughts: Okay, so yes, a lot of things about this book in theory remind me of a lot of other dystopian novels. But in practice, it just means that the things I know and love about other dystopias – the slowly growing awareness of the main character that something is wrong with her world, the intense fighting and training scenes, the deep love and ties that bind people together despite bad circumstances – are also present in this book. So I really think that if you loved Divergent or Legend or The Hunger Games, you will love Dove Arising. But of course, it’s not enough for a book to have things we love from other books, it has to have something special. And I think Dove Arising has something special – a lot of somethings special. If I’m totally honest, I liked it even better than Divergent, and I can’t wait for the sequel!
As always with me, a lot rides on the characters. And Phaet is a great main character. Her quiet and calm are something relatively rare in a genre featuring a lot of outspoken, impulsive, and (yes) awesome women. Phaet is as strong and powerful as any of them, but in her own way. She is crazy smart, and particularly drawn to math and science, knowledge that helps her in her military training as well. She loves growing things and the stars, almost as much as her family. She is exceptionally driven, and works extremely hard to achieve academic as well as physical success. She is much more interested in securing a future for herself and her family than she is in any kind of romance, but she maintains these priorities without dismissing the importance of love and affection.
I also thought the world building was an added element of awesomeness. Because of the nature of trying to survive on the moon, a lot of the more restrictive aspects of the government make sense, and it also makes sense that people would put up with it. It doesn’t mean there isn’t a lot of corruption and a lot of bad things happening, but it makes the whole world seem more believable and realistic. Between the world, a plot that moves quickly, and plenty of action and excitement, I couldn’t put Dove Arising down. I do have to add one negative to my thoughts, though: this book will leave you desperate for more, with no release date yet for the sequel! The agony!