Thursday, December 3, 2009

Genesis by Bernard Beckett

by Bernard Beckett

Published: 2009
Genre: Dystopia, SciFi
Hardback: 150 pages
Rating: 5

Description from the amazon:
2041 - First global dust storms, 2050 - First shot in The Last War fired, 2051 - The Great Sea Fence completed; the Republic founded, 2052 - First plague released, and 2077 - The Great War begins.

A...Fourteen-year-old Anax thinks she knows her history. She'd better. She's sat facing three Examiners and her grueling five-hour examination has just begun. If she passes, she'll be admitted into The Academy - the elite institution that runs her utopian society.

But Anax is about to discover that for all her learning, the history she's been taught isn't the whole story. And that The Academy isn't what she believes it to be.

The reader is about to discover a provocative novel of dazzling ingenuity. Anax's examination leads us into a future where ancient - eternal - philosophical questions have dramatically collided with the march of technology, where just what it means to be human is up for debate, and where the concealed stain of an Original Sin threatens the very existence of her Brave New World.

My two-bits:
In-a-word(s): sea fence

Well. Whoa. I totally didn't see that coming. Super twisty ending - which means I can't say too much for fear of spoiling the story.

However, I can say that there's more to that orange hair on the cover than meets the eye.

This dystopia novel goes into many issues of life and humanity. The main questions I'm left with after the reading is what does it mean to be human? Also, what becomes of us when we reach our perfect selves?

Such interesting book covers were out there, that I just had to post those that I found. Although, I think the first cover above depicts the story perfectly.

I first heard of this book back in April from reading an engaging round-robin book review/discussion given by Presenting Lenore, Pop Culture Junkie and Sharon Loves Books and Cats. You betcha, their discussions led me to this spectacular read.

Excerpt from Presenting Lenore:
Lenore: Alea, you knew this was labeled dystopia when you started reading. Was the novel what you expected? In addition to this, you've also read The Forest of Hands and Teeth. Are you intrigued by the genre? Or would you say it's not for you?

Alea: I guess I wasn't really sure what to expect when reading Genesis. I would definitely say there was far more philosophy than I was expecting. I would say I was hoping for a bit more information on the background of the story and the world that the author has created (but I think I always expect that, I love the details). I would definitely say that Genesis sparked my interest in this genre, definitely more so than The Forest of Hands and Teeth. While the Forest of Hands and Teeth left me sort of bored and not surprised, Genesis shocked me several times over and gave me the chills. I loved it! And I definitely hope to read more in this genre.

Excerpt from Pop Culture Junkie:
Alea: Being much more familiar with this genre were you surprised with how the events unfolded in Genesis? Did the ending take you by surprise? Would you consider Genesis to fit in easily with other dystopias or is it in a class of it's own?

Lenore: I was shocked by the ending. It’s not that is totally original – I’ve read several stories that are surprising in a similar way – but I really didn’t see it coming until it was there. And then in that moment, you think back on all you’ve read up to that point and realize, just like Anax does, that it couldn’t really end any other way. After reading, I’m actually a bit surprised that Genesis is being marketed as YA since, as a dystopia, it more resembles adult titles of the genre. Teen titles tend to have a lot more action and have a more active protagonist – but Anax doesn’t do anything in the novel besides study and take her exam.

Excerpt from Sharon Loves Books and Cats:
Lenore: Would you rather be a laborer in a safe society based on Plato's republic - or would you prefer to take your chances in the outside world beyond the fence (after all, we don't find out what's going on out there)?

Sharon: This is such an insanely difficult question! I would love to think that I would have risk it all and made a break for the outside world, but I really can’t say for sure. There is a certain comfort that people feel living in a safe and predictable society. I don’t know that I want to break away from that sense of security. Then again, I’d also be very curious to know what is going on outside my little fenced in community. I’m honestly a bit of a wimp so I’d probably stay behind the fence and not bother to take such a huge risk.

*Please visit their sites to read more of the discussion.
*part of my Dystopia challenge
Imagination Designs
Images from: Lovelytocu