vendredi 27 juin 2014

Paradigm by Ceri A Lowe

Following a major climatic catastrophe, the surviving citizens of London have taken to the underground, living in a reinvented society where people are regularly put in cryogenic sleep until needed. Births are carefully controlled and life is constrained by the needs of the greater good. Carter Warren is born into the world after the end, called on to fulfill his destiny as a contender for the role of Controller General. However in the years he has spent in deep freeze, things have changed and the world he left may no longer be the world he left behind...

Paradigm is a new entry into the extremely popular post-apocalyptic young adult scene, the latest in a long line of books that trace their DNA back through Divergent to the Hunger Games. Set in a world where climat change has forced the human race underground, it tells a dual story of two young people - one, a young girl called Alice Davenport, struggles to survive in the world left behind in the immediate aftermath of the Storms, while the other, a young man named Carter, lives almost a hundred years later in a London that has adapted to the post-Storms world. As we follow both stories concurrently, each begins to inform the other, creating a patchwork of two tales that combine to give us a complete view of what is going on while leaving a lot of questions unanswered. Unfortunately, only one of these threads really worked for me - the Alice storyline - leaving the pathwork lopsided and at times difficult to read.

While Alice's story is a great exploration of a post-apocalyptic world in the immediate aftermath (think Stephen King's The Stand just after the virus hits), Carter's storyline is a rehash of what has been seen a thousand times before in recent years with this subgenre. While I enjoyed Hunger Games and Divergent, to name the two most well known entries in the post-apocalyptic YA field, Paradigm may have been a step too far for me. While Alice's story was interesting, it did not provide any majorly original or insightful additions to this genre, while Carter's seemed to be a paint by numbers exploration of a tyranical uber-state.

The book left me frustrated by the end, which is more of a commentary on the plot than the writing - Ceri Lowe knows how to write a gripping story but in this case the skill of the writer was unsufficient to get over the obstacles created by the basic story. Although I didn't skim read, the book did not keep my attention in any major way: I found myself putting it aside without any real intention to pick it up again, so it took me quite a while to finish it.

Paradigm is the start of a series but I very much doubt I will pick up the sequel. While Alice's storyline was an interesting one that maintained my attention through much of its course, the Carter storyline lost me completely. Still, the writing was good and it is clear that Ceri Lowe has skills. I gave Paradigm 2,5 motionless Arks out of 5.

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