Title: Escape (Alliance #1)
Author: Inna Hardison
Genre: Young Adult
Reviewed by: Twisted Book Curmudgeon
Book One of the Alliance Series.
What if everything you knew about the world around you was a lie, and the very people you were taught to fear were your salvation, your escape?
Meet Amelia, raised in the safety of a Replenisher compound, a protectorate for the few Alliance females who can bear children. In two months, she will have to choose a mate and begin her duties, except it doesn’t happen like that.
When she witnesses a Zoriner boy fall over the wall of the compound, the very wall designed to keep those like her safe from those like him, the injured boy becomes her burden and maybe, if she lets him, her escape from the life she is meant to have, and the key to unraveling of the many secrets and lies on both sides of this conflict and each other. This is the very beginning of her journey.
This is the first book I’ve read by Inna Hardison, but it won’t be the last. She is a beautiful writer and her melancholy tone drew me in.
The premise of Escape reminded me a little of Children of Men and The Handmaid’s Tale. Set in the aftermath of a world ravaged by illness and controlled by a totalitarian government, it is told in multiple points of view.
Hardison also takes the reader through differing time periods where explanations of how the current situation came to be.
Divided into groups where one is seemingly privileged over the other, what is slowly unveiled to the reader are layers of horror. In a world dedicated to safeguarding the survival of the human race, what is lost is people’s humanity.
When the two groups collide, a chain of events is set in motion that upsets the finally balanced structure those in power seek to maintain.
Hardison weaves an engrossing tale with likable characters and something rare in dystopian-apocalyptic works: the gift of kindness. The leads and secondary characters retain their humanity when it would be so easy to fall into cruelty.
Some of my criticisms of this work are that with the multiple points of view and time periods, the story turned in on itself. Differing characters and time periods are some of my favourite literary devices, but at times it took me out of the moment and threw me into another one when I didn’t want to be.
Two characters, sisters, had similar names, and I had to read twice for clarification in order to determine who was narrating that section.
The pacing slowed at thirty percent and then recovered its groove, drawing me in again. Although I won’t spoil, I did find the ending a little unconvincing and convenient.
In saying that, I look forward to continuing on with this series and learning the fate of the characters.
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