Author: Anne-Marie Yerks
Genre: Sci-fiction, Dystopian Fiction
Goodreads prelude on the book:
Eighteen-year-old Isla lives in Naudiz, a historical reenactment community in a future America. Contracted by the government to perform the traditions of her Mennonite ancestors for tourists, she loves her family but wonders where life could take her. A new schoolteacher spots Isla's potential as a CREIA cadet, making her one of many girls recruited to visit the closely guarded Library of Ages. There are rumors that girls who go to the CREIA never return, but Isla is armed with a powerful tincture from her brother's workshop and has her best friend Esme by her side. She soon learns the dark secrets hidden in the CREIA's beautiful campus. The girls are assessed for a sinister destiny and forced to become dream addicts, forever lost in a hallucinogenic reality. When it seems there is no hope left, Isla's connection to nature and the chance at a new love reveal that the key to the future lies in the past. Sifting among the ruins, she finds herself standing up to answer the question all Citizens want to know: Where will they go as the Earth begins to heal from environmental destruction, growing into a lush land full of promise?
# Warning: spoilers ahead!
I was always free. ~Anne-Marie Yerks' LUSH, Epilogue end.
Its introductory tale about the heroine, Isla Kiehl's peaceful, slow-paced farm lifestyle exhibits how her laid back life frames her thinking and perspective. She is courageously sought after by the opposite gender but has the secret desire to live life as a CREIA member and be independent. The entire book is about how the truth behind the lustre and glamour of the CREIA foundation unfolds, and Isla grows through an enormous pile of hardships to accept herself as a person and her life back at the farm with her family.
LUSH is extraordinarily splayed over for a wide range of readers. It works with a world of advanced science but expressed in an amateur's view. Thus, rendering it readable even for people with no prior idea on that matter. The rich history preservation expressed is a blended utopia for people who definitely believe in cherishing the past and working towards a future. The plot was unique and narrated through the eyes of a youth, who has a kind view towards people but also equally misinformed about the life outside her small farm. The wide range of characters expressed that this book was about liberation from a veiled prison with a mass breakout to freedom.
The characters appeared ambiguous. More detailed character development would have ensured the book with the dominant traits the liberators needed. It lacked a bit of spice. The pace throughout the book was varying. The time taken to develop the plot towards Isla's life at the far and leading to CREIA was longer than her discovering the truth behind the words of the boy she fancied (referring to Gareth's warning against CREIA and Ms Hardin). It would have worked better as a series as compared to a single book.
The most saddening part of the tale was the chief motive behind CREIA. The Polity's aim was undisclosed, and it seemed like a mere preface to an upcoming storm. An explanation was due. They had used women as commodities, but the reason behind is hazy. The book failed to converge on the bitter angst and anger of the girls when they realised their worth being measured in credits. A properly planned and launched attack would have welled up better emotions within the readers as compared to the cold and easy death of the leader.
The book had a million worthy elements, but they offered just a teasing glance. The story behind Mother Cordish and her beliefs or the truth of Ms Hardin or the Polity or the UniKind project and the reason behind the composites (which was in fact brilliant) was unsure. I would have loved to see the story (Part III & IV) unfurl to a full-blown revelation and the heroine disembarking on a revolution, leading women to victory over the Polity.
All in all, I would compliment the author, for the plot was unique and if developed in-depth would be a masterpiece. I would suggest it as a read for young teens and readers looking for a quick read.
Pace: Varying (Part I & II slow, while Part III & IV hurried).
Reading Difficulty: Easy
Character Development: 2/5
You can also read my review at Goodreads.