Monday, December 4, 2017

All Things Now Living- Rondi Bauer Olson

My Rating: 3 Stars

Description: Sixteen-year-old Amy doesn't like anything to die, she won't even eat the goats or chickens her mama has butchered every fall, but she can't let herself pity the inhabitants of New Lithisle. In a few short months the dome they built to isolate themselves from the deadly pandemic is predicted to collapse, but her whole life Amy has been taught it's God's will they die. They traded their souls for immunity to the swine flu virus, brought God's curse upon themselves by adding pig genes to their own.

Then, while on a scavenging trip with her father, Amy is accidentally trapped in New Lithisle. At first her only goal is to escape, but when she meets Daniel, a New Lithisle boy, she begins to question how less-than-human the people of New Lithisle are.

Amy's feelings grow even more conflicted when she learns she didn't end up in New Lithisle by mistake. Her father is secretly a sympathizer, and was trying to prevent the coming destruction.

Now time is running short and Amy has to decide if she will bring the computer program her father wrote to his contact or save herself. Installing the program could prevent the dome's collapse, but if Amy doesn't find her father's contact in time, she'll die, along with everyone else.

My Thoughts: In the author's bio on the back cover of the book, it says that the novel was a finalist in the 2012 Genesis Contest with the ACFW Conference (which is a pretty big deal). And I can see how it advanced as far as it did. The pace is spot on, leading you to continuously turn the pages in order to find out what happens next and the world building is different enough to engage lovers of the dystopian genre. However, I can also see why All Things Now Living didn't win that contest.

While the story itself is engaging, much of the world building does not quiet fit together. For instance, as stated in the blurb, the people of New Lithisle crossed their genes with those of pigs, yet there are individuals who clearly have crossed their genes with other animals as they bare physical markers of those species. The confusion comes from the fact that this is never really addressed. Did these people cross their genetics with both pigs and these other animals or just with the one? Were these other genes brought in as an alternative to pig genes for stopping the flu, or where they for cosmetic purposes, as those with pig genes, like Daniel, have no real outward differences?

There are other examples of where information fails to add up; how Daniel is as rich as he is when his only job seems to be officiating marriages and blessing babies, what Amy's role as a seventh daughter would be if she were to accept that fate, ect. And while none of this detracts overly much from the overall story, they were still questions that hounded me whenever I set the book down. I enjoyed the story, and would even read a sequel if there were one, however, I wish that those questions would have been addressed. It would have pushed the story into a four or five star rating.

I have provided an honest review after having received a copy of this book through Litfuse.

All Things Now Living Rondi Bauer Olson

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