I’ll admit, when I hear “dystopian fiction” I let out a groan, as after the success of the Hunger Games, Divergent and the like, there has been a surge of books in the genre, and not all have hit the mark.
Thankfully, Paradigm by Ceri A Lowe does.
What makes Paradigm unique is that while other books address life in a postapocalyptic world, author Lowe entwined a tale of life during the end of the world as we know it, from the viewpoint of teenaged Alice Davenport, with 15-year-old Carter Warren’s story 87 years later.
The book opens with the words “You have five minutes of this life left” and an introduction to Carter – as he is about to be frozen. In the near future, “the Model” controls the balance of people to resources, and often people are frozen until a time when they are more needed. In Carter’s case, he expects that he will later return to lead in the role of controller, but when he is finally unfrozen he discovers that much has changed in the political climate. His world is a very different from the one that Alice lost.
Alice’s story begins in near-present day London; she is home from school, initially playing sick as the storms start to move through the city. It is a clever move, with events occurring in a time that is imaginable to the reader. She does fall ill, her mother doesn’t return home from work, and when she awakes from her feverish sleep she finds the world outside devastated by the freak storms, heavy rain, flooding and destruction that follows. After a struggle she is rescued and Alice will be one to start the rebuilding of the new world.
The story that unfolds is clever, captivating and at times a bit too close for comfort. It gave pause for thought about the excesses of our modern world and how it might be perceived by future generations, and kept me turning pages until the end. I’m looking forward to the rest of the trilogy, as author Lowe has done a fantastic job of adding her own twist to the genre.
My only criticism of the book is in the similarity of the cover to the those of Divergent and Convergent. While the books share the same genre, they are quite different in nature. I can see the symbolism of the water and the fire depicted on the cover, comparisons will be made, I’m sure.
Paradigm by Ceri A. Lowe will be released on June 13, 2014.