Thursday, July 11, 2013
Review: Aberrant by Ruth Silver
Author: Ruth Silver
Published: April 2013 by author
Genre: Young Adult Dystopian
Source: Received copy for review from author
Rating: 2 out of 5
Summary from Goodreads: In the future Dystopian society of Cabal, the government instills equality for all and offers its citizens the perfect system. There is food, shelter and jobs for everyone. The one requirement is to follow the rules without question, including the government's match in marriage and "The Day of the Chosen", a lottery that randomly selects families to conceive children as natural means hasn't existed in generations. Following her eighteenth birthday, Olivia Parker accepts her requirement to marry her childhood best friend, Joshua Warren, and is eager to start her work assignment and new life when it all comes abruptly to an end as she's arrested and thrown in prison. The only crime committed, her existence. Olivia is unlike the rest of the world born not from "The Day of the Chosen." The truth haunts the government and puts her life in grave danger as one simple fact would destroy the perfect system.
With Joshua's help, Olivia breaks free of prison and is forced on the run. Together they set out to find the promised rebel town in search of a new home and new life together. Their situation seems less than promising as they reach the town of Haven. New rules and customs must be adhered to in order to stay. Leaving would mean most certain death in the large expanse of the Gravelands. Time is running out as the government mounts an attack to destroy Olivia and bury her secret with her. Thrown into a world unlike their own, they must quickly adapt to survive.
There really is no worse feeling than disliking a book you requested for review. There are a lot of great reviews of Aberrant on Goodreads, but unfortunately it wasn't for me.
Olivia lives in Cabal, where the government chooses who you marry and women can't conceive without government intervention. Olivia's whole life changes when she learns that she is the first child to be conceived naturally in centuries and that she may have the ability to conceive herself. She is forced to run away from Cabal with her lifetime best friend and government appointed husband. In their journey they discover that Olivia is a much bigger deal than they'd ever imagined.
The concept of the world in Aberrant is certainly interesting, though I can't say it's altogether original. Nor did I find it particularly cruel. The government tries to detain Olivia because she can conceive, and there is a scene that is supposed to make us think see the government of Cabal as evil, but the most outlandish policy is the government regulated marriage. Maybe we are supposed to see the way they regulate who can have children by a lottery as cruel as well, but I saw it as more of a forced way of coping with the infertility problem than a choice to be oppressive. I never got a sense of "this is so wrong" when reading, so I didn't understand Olivia's haste to leave Cabal.
I had a lot of trouble connecting with Olivia. I didn't really get the sense that there was much personality to her. It seemed like she was more of a means to an end for the author to get to the next plot point than a person with her own motivations. I know that every character ever written is just a means to an end, but it shouldn't feel that way to the reader.
There were also quite a few inconsistencies in the characters, especially Joshua, Olivia's love interest. He was hot and cold to extreme degrees that were explained away far to simply to be believable. Though he and Olivia had been best friends since childhood, I never really got the friends vibe from them. I think their relationship could have been a lot more dynamic if it had been more about the friendship than the romance. The writing style in Aberrant wasn't easy for me to read. It felt rushed, though maybe others would see it as exciting.
My problems with Aberrant lie in my inability to connect with Olivia and my lack of comprehension of the world she lives in. I just wasn't sucked in and I never got to a point where I really cared what happened.
Aberrant wasn't for me, but there are many positive reviews of it on Goodreads. If you are a big fan of Dystopian novels I encourage you to give it a shot.