In a changed world where the sky bleeds red, winter is hotter than hell and full of sandstorms, and summer’s even hotter with raging fires that roam the desert-like country, the Heaters manage to survive, barely.
Due to toxic air, life expectancies are so low the only way the tribe can survive is by forcing women to procreate when they turn sixteen and every three years thereafter. It is their duty as Bearers.
Fifteen-year-old Siena is a Youngling, soon to be a Bearer, when she starts hearing rumors of another tribe of all women, called the Wild Ones. They are known to kidnap Youngling girls before the Call, the ceremony in which Bearers are given a husband with whom to bear children with.
As the desert sands run out on her life’s hourglass, Siena must uncover the truth about the Wild Ones while untangling the web of lies and deceit her father has masterfully spun.
This is an accomplished book; beautifully written. I’m a fan of this vernacular-style of writing and David is clearly a talented author. It reminded me (a little) of the Dustlands series by Moira Young, though it’s still a unique story in it’s own right.
I struggled to engage in the story at the start. However, that’s happening me a lot at the moment, so it probably says more about me than about any of the books I’ve been reading recently. I became invested about a third of the way in, and I felt the pace and plot picked up then.
It took me a little while to warm to Sienna. While I could empathize with her predicament, some of her actions infuriated me. By her own admission she is weak (physically at least) yet that doesn’t stop her from throwing herself into situations that she can’t handle. Her actions continually put those she loves at risk, and she never seems to learn that lesson. That grated on me a little. Circ was instantly like-able and I thought my heart would break when that twist occurred mid way through. I spent the rest of the book praying it wasn’t as it appeared to be.
I loved the world-building, and I could easily visualize the derelict, primitive environment they lived in. David is very skilled at invoking emotions in his characters, and I particularly felt Sienna’s heartache in the second half of the book. This was extremely well written in my opinion.
Overall, I think this is a good addition to the YA Dystopian genre, and I would recommend it. I’d like to thank David for running a free promotion which enabled me to pick up a complimentary copy of this book. I’ll definitely be checking out some of his other work.