Author: Ruth Silver
Publisher/Year: Patchwork Press 4/28/13
Length: 250 Pages
Series: Aberrant #1
In the future dystopian society of Cabal, the government instills equality for all and offers its citizens the perfect system. There is food, shelter and jobs for everyone. The one requirement is to follow the rules without question, including the government’s match in marriage and “The Day of the Chosen”, a lottery that randomly selects families to conceive children as natural means hasn’t existed in generations. Following her eighteenth birthday, Olivia Parker accepts her requirement to marry her childhood best friend, Joshua Warren, and is eager to start her work assignment and new life when it all comes abruptly to an end as she’s arrested and thrown in prison. The only crime committed, her existence. Olivia is unlike the rest of the world born not from “The Day of the Chosen.” The truth haunts the government and puts her life in grave danger as one simple fact would destroy the perfect system.
With Joshua’s help, Olivia breaks free of prison and is forced on the run. Together they set out to find the promised rebel town in search of a new home and new life together. Their situation seems less than promising as they reach the town of Haven. New rules and customs must be adhered to in order to stay. Leaving would mean most certain death in the large expanse of the Gravelands. Time is running out as the government mounts an attack to destroy Olivia and bury her secret with her. Thrown into a world unlike their own, they must quickly adapt to survive.
I’ve had this book in my library for a bit and finally got around to reading it – and i’m pleased that i did. I love how creative and imaginative authors can get with dystopia, and i feel like lately i’ve been on a trend of reading those that talk about the inability to reproduce in the future because of plagues. that was the case in Partials, and now it’s the case in Aberrant. But…this is a nice new take on things, so i didn’t mind.
In this first installment of the series, we’re in a similar situation as we saw in the Matched Trilogy – upon coming of age, you’re told who you’d be matched with for marriage and life moving forward- the choice is taken away from you. We meet Olivia and Joshua – who are best friends and fortunately the same age. Leading into their marriage ceremony – they aren’t sure that they’ll be pleased with who’s chosen for them, and while Olivia would be happy with Joshua, he seems to be thinking of others, which is saddening to her. Of course though, what we tend to see in series like this – they are luckily paired together, and can have a future with someone that they at least like.
From the moment that they are matched, things seem to be great – but that doesn’t even last a day. On their first night in their new home, Olivia is arrested and thrown into jail for a reason that she doesn’t even know. Hours later, her mother is also arrested and thrown into the cell next to her, and this is when Olivia learns an interesting truth about her. In finding out that she was the result of a natural pregnancy, never heard of, it means that she’s also capable of having a child naturally and that means that EVERYONE wants to get their hands on her. she’s an anomoly.
good news though is that Josh comes to rescue her, with the help of his mother who just happens to be part of the rebel alliance – and leads them to their escape to a rebel town. When they get there though, they learn that they can’t be together since the town’s society thinks that if they choose to be together, then they are upholding what the government back home wants, and that can’t ever happen. They are ripped apart from one another, threatened, and Olivia is told that she must choose someone else within 3 years and have a child with them. That of course makes no one happy – although it seems like Joshua is moving on one night when Olive goes to him and he has another girl in his room.
Since things are never as they seem, their whole world gets thrown upside down again, and they are forced to flee for their lives during an attack, and that is where their journey gets even more interesting and complex.
What’s nice about this story is that while expected – i think that the plot line is interesting. Everyone wants to use Olive since she’s an urban legend of sorts, and of course given that she’s just 18, she doesn’t want to do what others necessarily tell her. Josh continues to try to protect her, and the story will continue on that path i can imagine.
What i think is nice though is that we get a bit of the back story on what happened to make society what it is – since Josh and Olive are told that they are required to learn the society history in order to stay in Haven. In their studies, they get a different POV on things than what they were taught back home – talking about the Red Plague that killed everyone off, how global community fought back against in and what the repercussions were. I also like that we see that Olive and Josh are strong characters from the beginning – not weak and naive. they show us that they have come into their own even before they are fully faced with the struggles that they’ll have to deal with and that’s a nice thing in this genre. I’m used to the girl being so weak, and that’s not the case here.
I guess the question becomes – who can they trust – how will they survive, where will they survive, and what’s going to be their closure? Will Olive and Josh be together? do they even want to be together like that?
What confuses me though is this one thing. Everyone outside of Genesis – their home city knows of this myth/urban legend of Olivia’s existence – that her mother was able to conceive naturally. How come no one at home knew about it except the doctor – and therefore no one knew about it until her arrest? it’s just interesting to me how one town could be so blind to something, or closed off. but i guess you only see what you want.
Anyway, i’m off to read Moirai – book 2 and see how their journey continues.