Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Book Review: Restoring Harmony by Joelle Anthony

Let me ask you something: Can a novel classified as post-apocalyptic get away with not having a single character die?

When I pick up a book in this genre, I expect bad things to happen. This, however, was the happiest, most cheerful "dystopian" book I've ever read. Even the villains were cordial (for the most part).

That's doesn't mean it's bad. It's quite good, actually. It just took me completely by surprise with its upbeat tone and story. It's set in the future, after a partial economic collapse of North America as we know it. Sure, things are less than ideal. But people are coping. It almost seemed to me to be like a second Great Depression than "the end of the world as we know it."

Against that background, we have the story of Molly - a 16 year old Canadian charged with travelling to Oregon to pick up her grandparents and bring them back. Molly has a bunch of challenges and obstacles in her path, but thankfully, she's blessed with healthy portions of resourcefulness and luck.

I definitely think there's room for more positive stories in the dystopian cannon, so even though it was not as dark as I prefer my books in the genre to be, it gets a rating of 3 Zombie Chickens: Well-worth reading - especially for newbies and those who tend to shy away from the genre.  This one has a HEA, y'all!


Come back later today when I have a interview with the author!

See index of all dystopian reviews on Presenting Lenore

21 comments:

bermudaonion said...

I would probably enjoy this one since it's not so dark!

Coffee and a Book Chick said...

Ha I love this review, and am excited to read "cheerful gloom!" :)

elizabeth said...

Great review! I definitely want to read this book. It sounds like it's interesting.

Mrs. DeRaps said...

I love dark, but could use a little light now and again. I'm going to have to get my hands on a copy of this book!

Trisha said...

Wow, that's two dystopian novels I've read about on your blog that seem to be more upbeat than I'm used to. Sounds interesting!

kay - Infinite Shelf said...

Interesting! I didn't think you could have "cheerful" and "dystopian" in the same sentence, but here you go proving me wrong :)
I had this on a possible wishlist, and I think I'll keep it there. It could be fun to have a less dark dystopian for once!

Amanda said...

I've never read an upbeat dystopia...

samantha.1020 said...

I think that this book definitely sounds interesting. I've been wanting to read more books in this genre so thanks for the reviews!

Chris said...

Hmmm! This sounds like it could be quite refreshing actually! And that cover is absolutely gorgeous! I think I'll be checking this one out ;)

Steph Su said...

I think that's part of why I never found myself picking up this book, despite my inherent love of dystopian lit, lol. I think I prefer my dystopian lit dark, depressing, and dangerous. :)

Elle said...

The cover is absolutely beautiful!

Liviania said...

Sounds cool! I like when authors try something different.

Iris on Books said...

I think an upbeat dystopian story would be just the place to start for me!

Carla said...

I've not read this one either. I'm sure I heard somewhere that the author never meant this book to be dystopian, or maybe i'm lying. This does sound intriguing, but like Steph, I like my dystopia to be mean and menacing and scary, with lots of bad things going down, nevertheless, this does sound like a new spin on that. Will definitely check it out soon. Have I told you how much I am LOVING dystopian August? because I AM!!

ibeeeg said...

I am not certain if I prefer dark dystopia over a "lighter" version but I do like dark. I think I may like this story because there are moments when reading something that is a bit more light is called for. Besides, I think this may be a good book for one of my daughter's introduction into the dystopian world.

Zibilee said...

I love the thought of a "happy dystopia" and think the book sounds really interesting. I bet my kids would love it as well.

Anna said...

I love my books dark and disturbing, but I'm intrigued by this one. I think it would be interesting to read a lighter dystopian book. Thanks for the recommendation!

carolsnotebook said...

I love a happy ending. This one's already on my to-read list.

S. Krishna said...

Cheerful dystopian is a perfect way to describe this one!

Darlene said...

This does sound good but it does seem funny that it's one that's not dark. That would make for a nice change I think.

Mrs. DeRaps said...

Um. Hm. I just read this book and didn't quite know how to express myself in a book review. I remembered that I had read your review this summer. I probably should have listened to your warnings. I did not love it. Was it horrible? No. But, the happiness and the lack of emotion and world-building really did bother me. It was, as you note, more of a Depression-era story rather than a complete dystopia. Too cheery, too implausible.

Thanks for your honest review. Off to write mine!