So I was looking at the Inky awards long list seeing if I could find a book to read for this blog and saw Emma Pass’ dystopian adventure Acid. My sister bought this book a few months back but never read it. She is a massive dystopian fan, so the fact that she never finished it didn’t say very good things about it (and intrigued me…). It also meant that it was just sitting on her shelf unread. Obviously it was the Inky book I should read and, as it turns out, it was a good thing I did. If it weren’t for the Inky list I probably would never choose to read this book but I ended up really enjoyed it.
Now it is important with any dystopian or futuristic novel to think about the world. In Acid’s futuristic, strictly organised world the city is divided into class sections: ‘upper’, ‘middle’, and ‘outer’. There are massive holographic news screens on the sides of buildings. Phones are also holographic. People don’t fall in love and get married; they are tested and get ‘LifePartnered’ as an element of law. They can only have children if the police force and government say they can and the government decide on the child’s gender. When you live in ‘outer’ you get investigated by the police if you don’t have your news screen on for a substantial part of each day. The police force decides on your occupation and where you live. In the ‘IRB’ (Independant Republic of Britain) people have no choices and this, I think, is Emma Pass’ equivalent to Panem’s Games (The Hunger Games) and the war of Tomorrow, When the War Began. It is the part of the world that instils fear, making it dystopian. It also has a similarity to the faction system of Divergent and the districts of The Hunger Games. Everything is ordered and decided by the government. Totalitarian regimes are characteristic of dystopian fiction. Other aspects of the world such as the class system and the ‘news screens’ reminded me of The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer, a dystopian series I didn’t enjoy but which had many similarities with the setting of Acid. All in all the world of Acid was well-built and increased my enjoyment of the books heaps. Because, especially with dystopian, half the value of the book is in a plausible, fear-inducing setting (Although I read Divergent immediately after Acid so the worlds blended in my head making both stories seem pretty confusing for a while…).
Another important part of the novel is the plot. I have to say that although this novel was full of plot twists I found most of them pretty predictable. I’d guessed the twist chapters before the characters figured out what was going on. This can be good and bad: on one side you get that ‘I was right!’ feeling but on the other, the book has no surprises for you. The twists aren’t really twists. In fact, the majority of the twists were your common or garden species plot twist, reused and reused by countless YA writers worldwide. All this aside though, I still enjoyed the book. It was a fun read and even though I’m not a big dystopian reader I may just have to read a bit more of this genre.