Thursday, April 8, 2010

Review by Lauren - Genesis

Genesis by Bernard Beckett

‘Explain to us why you wish to enter The Academy.’ Anaximander, a young Academy candidate, is put through a gruelling exam. Her special subject: the life of Adam Forde, her long-dead hero.

It’s late in the 21st century and the island Republic has emerged from a ruined, plague-ridden world, its citizens safe, but not free, and living in complete isolation from outside contact. Approaching planes are gunned down, refugees shot on sight. Until a man named Adam Forde rescued a girl from the sea.

“Anaximander, we have asked you to consider why it is you would like to join the Academy. Is your answer ready?” To answer that question, Anaximander must struggle with everything she has ever known about herself and her beloved Republic’s history, the nature of being human, of being conscious, and even what it means to have a soul. And when everything has been laid bare, she must confront the Republic’s last great secret, her own surprising link to Adam Forde, and the horrifying truth about her world.

First Impressions: Both my boss and Alex (whose review from our first blogging days can be found here) recommended this book to me. Its pretty small in size - only 185 pages - and I knew it was dystopian so it seemed like a pretty good read.

I finished Genesis about an hour ago and I'm still trying to wrap my head around it. There is so much compacted into those 185 pages, it's ridiculous. As short as the book was, I would not say it's a light read... There are two plots to the story - Anax's four hour retelling of Adam Forde's story - and the information is really the main focus of the novel. It's a pretty philosophical book, full of messages and rethinking what makes us human basically. Really interesting, and definitely not overdone - the length was perfect.

So don't expect to fall in love with these characters - there are basically 3 in the entire novel - but there is definitely an experience to be had while reading Genesis. It was incredibly powerful and gripping with a couple unexpected twists to it.

Final Impressions: It's a fast read, but not a light one. I definitely feel like I've achieved a new outlook on things after finishing it, but I wouldn't actually buy the book. It's more of a one-time read.

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