Sunday, August 15, 2010
Right off the bat, I liked that I was introduced to three very diverse characters. Jaym is white, working class. Reya is a refugee from Mexico where sandstorms drove out the population. D’Shay is Af-Am (the book’s term, not mine) and has been in and out of foster homes his whole life. We see how their individual circumstances led them to Global Alliance Blender Program whose purpose is to help repopulate Africa after a sun flare left all the people on the continent unable to have children.
I also found it refreshing that the story is set mainly in Africa – a favorite recent travel spot of mine. Once our three protagonists get to their destination, they are left to fend for themselves against mercenaries who want the blending program to fail. The situation Reya finds herself in is especially harrowing, but Jaym and D’Shay have interesting journeys as well. It reminded me in many ways of a student exchange program, but one in which all three simply got really, really BAD host family placements. Speaking of placements, I have to admit that I never really got WHY the government was so big on sending kids away when they turned 17. Is it due to overpopulation maybe? Everyone just seems to accept it, and there aren't any scenes of brutal government enforcement or anything. Hmmm….
In any case, the world in 2054 is sufficiently crappy, with tons of terrible consequences from environmental disasters. Debut Author Kinch touches on a lot of hot topics – from the terrible conditions of refugee camps, to interracial tensions, to the naivety of global bureaucrats when it comes to local problems – which adds depth to what is essentially a survival/adventure story. However, right when the action is really heating up…BOOM. It’s over. It’s so abrupt, it’s not even a cliffhanger – it’s a sinkhole. After I recovered from my whiplash, I headed over to the author's website to check for sequel information, and apparently, there IS a one in the works (even a possible trilogy).
My rating? 3 Zombie Chickens – Well worth reading. (Though if you really get frustrated by cliffhangers (sinkholes!) then you might want to wait until the next book is out.)
THE BLENDING TIME will be released on October 1, 2010 in paperback original.
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