I have found another author whose books I will be reading all of. I already owned the book when the tour came up and you know me, I have no control when it comes to tours, I have an affliction… err addiction errr both. It keeps me on a schedule and I already owned it, so what the heck! Well, it paid off! SONG and SIGNAL knocked me off my feet. I am not sure what pantheon of gods of the written word I did the appropriate sacrifice to but I am lucking out left and right when it comes to books lately, specifically young adult reads. For the record I personally will argue this is not young adult. The author and I had a chat about it, in fact. He said he did not set out to write it as young adult as it has become a marketing label not a genre. Well he is right, it is definitely not a genre, again Chuck Wendig post actually nailed it for me. But Mr. Patterson also said there are ten different answers to the question, what is Young Adult?
Well this is what makes it young adult to those who insist it is:
Zak and Liz are teens, they are coming to a point where decisions within their lives can affect them forever.
Features problems and issues in the story which teens can relate too and more importantly emphasis put in these situations instead of a teen character acting like you think a teen would act like
Is a subject that will catch a teens attention and make them want to read it.
Well sci-fi, teenage hacker, action, bad ass aliens, bad ass bad guys, drugs, romance, rebellion.. YEP this book has it in spades.
They sound like adults but act like teens.
Yes because teenagers are mini-adults who have not finished cooking, with unfinished brains. Does not mean they are stupid, so don’t write down to them. Believe it or not they know you are being a dickpiston! Guess what? Mr. Patterson passes. I don’t think this should be put into a box, this is a good read just as Ender’s Game, which was not written with the intention of it being a young adult book yet it has been put into the young adult read, it really is a book that speaks to everyone.
Why does this matter to me? Well I have some problems with marketing things with the label of Young Adult, I can admit it. Frankly I don’t care anymore because the book was just extremely good! I will admit it, I have had issues with people who write a book and slap a YA label on it. Just because your protagonist is teen doesn’t make it a young adult read. This also means that a lot of young adult reads are not written for young adults but for soccer moms. Don’t get me wrong, I watch “Pretty Little Liars” and “Gossip Girls” is one of my favorites. But those shows are not for teens, they are for my demographic, soccer moms (yes I am old, deal with it). Like any adults we like to recapture that feeling and the experiences we had when we were that age, which is why these shows and some of these books are targeted to us.
But over the course of the last year I have been exposed to some stellar books which I was calling family reads, now I can admit these are young adult reads. I am out of the closet, I like to read and if a book is good, I mean really good it doesn’t matter if it is a picture book for first readers or a book about Russian politics, or… if it is Young Adult. If it is written well, it is written well. But my gripe is more for books the author felt the only thing that they needed to do was throw in a teenager. So many of these books were not realistic and did not do the ONE thing I really feel should be in a young adult read, which is realistic situations which teens are part of and realistic characters who are not perfect looking, acting and always winning, because no teen experiences that, ask the head cheerleader. Even they don’t feel perfect. But I am really digressing, yet again.. sorry about that! BACK to the REVIEW!
Zakari (Zak) is our intelligent nerd protagonist, but the thing is? In this cyberpunk sci-fi read he is one of many, but he is our leading nerd so he is exceptional. Like most geniuses, because he is, he also is not as with it in other arenas, especially socially with humans. Yes, with humans. I say this because he is a kind and caring person, he stands up against bullies. The xenophobia in the world he doesn’t get mainly because he was raised by an alien. He also is a kid whose dad is an infamous thief (supposedly;) and has to deal with the social stigma) Liz, his best friend and a girl he has been in love with “forever” is from a family with means, he grew up with an alien as a guardian. She is fearless, stubborn and loyal to a fault, she is a survivor.. It is a wonderful balance. I love them both. The character development starts right at the beginning as well as the action. We are thrust face first into this world and the dichotomy between the aliens and the former mining workers.
The stunning thing about this is the world build. So many times sci-fi authors tend to info dump, not all of them but many times with the indie and self pub it is as if they just don’t trust their readers. But sci-fi readers don’t need it! We know there is going to be tech, perhaps aliens and out of the world. Patterson has a way with allegory. The world build, the characters, the company, the political powers, all the story is riddled with it. So beautifully subtle and with such an impact.
I love how the author was able to fit in xenophobia, discrimination and class separation, politics and corporate power without being overtly obvious. The bad guys are despicable and yet it is not an obvious black and white, good and evil. There are balances and ethic checks left and right. The framework of this read is spot on fabulous!
Then there is the other factor, and without spoiling it this person, the one who is a story unto himself, creates a balance between the kids need to find out if the rumor about his father is true and this “mans” need to do what he needs to become a “real man” again. I was enthralled with the tale, completely. I read it from cover to cover in one sitting and ended up reading it again a little shower over the last week. Just wonderful. This was not the person they were running from, this “man” is another piece in the puzzle the story presents. Liz herself is another puzzle and mystery and one which disturbed me greatly and never was… truly explained but enough so to satisfy me.
Remember this while reading it… everything that is in this book is there for a reason. This is something very few can say. There is no added fluff, he did not tell me about it, he showed me. The imagery was stunning. I can see Liz as she battles the Scav workers. I almost stopped reading the book at 51% because everything was so vivid and real I was crushed. Yet I could not believe after everything this author did to bring me into their world, this would be it. So if you get to that point, KEEP GOING, I am not going to tell you what happens, just … I promise you won’t be let down.
Cabin Goddess rating of 9.5 out of 10
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