Though I thought it got off to a slow start, once I settled into this novel’s rhythms, I was completely sucked in. I found it particularly interesting to see the gradual decline of Lauren’s community over a 3 year period, a stark contrast to a lot of apocalyptic fiction where the world is changed by a sudden event and there is a precisely defined before and after. Of course, even in a world of gradual decline, an individual can still have a defined before and after, and in Lauren’s case, it has to do with the event that forces her out on the road finally to fend for herself which comes about halfway through the narrative.
Lauren is a fighter and a survivor, and once she is out on her own, things start to really get interesting. I read this together with Megan of Po(sey) Sessions (we kept track of each other’s progress via twitter) and it wasn’t until this point that the novel really clicked for her. It’s because once Lauren starts her journey, she meets new people outside of her own experience that really broaden her understanding (and ours) of how bad it’s really gotten. Particularly galling is the government sanctioned slave driving that a lot of companies engage in because there are so many desperate people they can take advantage of. But we also meet (or at least see) cannibals, drug addled pyromaniacs, girls forced into prostitution by their own families, and “sharers” – people who share others pain and pleasure because of a drug they were exposed to in utero.
I wasn’t thrilled about the religion Lauren made up (and tended to skip the passages at the beginning of each chapter that were supposedly her teachings), but I did like that it added to her already very well-rounded and fascinating character. I’d definitely be interested in picking up the sequel, PARABLE OF THE TALENTS, to see how Lauren’s journey continues. (BTW - book boths are available in paperback)
My rating – 4 Zombie Chickens: An Excellent Example of the Dystopian (or in this case, Post Apocalyptic) Genre