In a starred review back when this was released in 2003, Publisher’s Weekly described this as a “post-apocalyptic fairy tale leavened with hope.” I mention this because this does read far more like a fairy tale than a typical dystopian, and that has a lot to do with Hoffman’s use of language. Here’s how it starts:
"I once believed that life was a gift. I thought whatever I wanted I would someday possess. Is this greed, or only youth? Is it hope or stupidity? As far as I was concerned the future was a book I could write to suit myself, chapter after chapter of good fortune. All was right with the world, and my place in it was assured, or so I thought then. I had no idea that all stories unfold like white flowers, petal by petal, each in its own time and season, dependant on circumstance and fate." p. 5-6
Reading through the reviews on GoodReads, I noticed a lot of people either loved Hoffman’s language or thought it was over-the-top, citing especially a passage near the beginning where Green describes her sister as someone so enchanting that, “Bees would drink the sweat from her skin and never once sting.” p 7. That is a bit much, isn’t it? But Hoffman mostly tones it down after that, and tells a haunting story of a girl trying to come to terms with a whole new, more dangerous world and trying to find her place in it.
A lot of the plot is deliberately vague, and in fact, you don’t find out the cause of the destruction of the city until the sequel GREEN WITCH, which just came out this year. That does make you feel a bit ripped off, especially since book 1 is only 116 pages and book 2 is only 144 pages.
And although Green is developed, the other characters, including a mute boy Green’s age she calls Diamond, are as fleshed out as mist. But again, this is probably a deliberate choice on Hoffman’s part, to underline the fairytale atmosphere of the narrative.
My rating? It was weird, but I liked it. It adds something different to the genre, so I am going to give it 3 Zombie Chickens – Well worth reading.
GREEN ANGEL (available in paperback)
GREEN WITCH (available in hardcover)
Find out more about the series on the author's website.
See index of all dystopian reviews on Presenting Lenore