"Beautiful cover? Check. Intricate storyline? Check. High stakes, romance, intrigue, and bittersweet ending? Check, check, check. Arresting and nuanced, this novel can easily crossover for adult audiences. The depth of concepts presented in story will provide brain stimulation for the thinky -- plus: romance!"
It doesn't even embarrass me to recall how I both used the (non)word "thinky" and went ON and ON and ON about TANKBORN, the first book in the Tankborn trilogy. I was a big old fan, and not ashamed to own it:
"Themes of personal and racial freedoms are HUGE in this book - rights to privacy, data monitoring, and other modern concepts are tumbled in with the older themes of slavery, class, and racial -- the Human race -- identity. As the story closes, these concepts will echo in your brain: What is it that makes us human? What happens when we apply the one-drop rule to genetic modification? Does someone with a pacemaker still count as fully human, or partially automaton? How many ways will the upper classes use to justify creating a servant class? And is it already happening?"
Apparently I am also, at times, just slightly dramatic. And yet: the concept was so fresh, and the book just vibrated with Big Thoughts for me.
The sequel to TANKBORN, called AWAKENING was a strong link in the chain, but its cliff hanger ending produced more questions than it banished, and introduced more elements to the ensemble:
"We're left not sure how things will end, and with a very clear understanding - there's a new game in town, and it's not about friendship or opening up new avenues of trust between Lowborn and GEN and Trueborn. It's not about Kinship, and who we thought was in charge isn't in charge any longer. There are deaths, which are upsetting - and in some cases, downright gross, but remember, this book has, as its main character, a GEN, a genetically modified human being who was, once upon a time, someone else, until she was changed. That comes up again, and is actually more important than we first realize."
That there are more players in the drama was, at first, difficult to swallow. As much as I said I *wasn't* into the romance of the first book, my recurring question as soon as I got into the second was, "But... but what happened next with that one couple?" Instead of having Reader Greed immediately fed, I had to get to know and like new characters. I was resentful of that - until about halfway through the book when I realized some of those people I was ready to blow off were important - vital, even... And, then there was Scratch, the disease that affects the Modified... its symptoms were just disgusting, in a totally interesting way. More than just the human people in the second novel sprang to life, there were massive planetary details which raised again my early support for Karen Sandler's mad world-building skills.
I ended my review of AWAKENING with some thoughts about the final novel:
"The final new 'character' in this novel is graffiti. The letters FHE stand for Freedom, Humanity, and Equality. Oddly enough, none of those three words are really present in this book... but the letters show up repeatedly. Those words, of course, bring to mind the slogan of the French revolution - "Liberté, Egalité, Fraternité ou la mort" - and many will agree that none of those things showed up in the French revolution for a long, long time, either. Is it any wonder that the third book in the trilogy, slated to be published Spring 2014, is titled REVOLUTION? And that it appears that this brave new world has possibly already lost its way? Can't wait to read this saga's conclusion."
Despite the weather of Endless Winter, Spring 2014 is just a little ways off, so now it's time for the FINAL BOOK COVER REVEAL! Of course, the vagaries of publishing mean that REBELLION has had a title change - and likely many other changes along the way. However, stylistically, the cover reveals the same GEN facial tattoo on an attractive brown girl. We can only expect that what's between the covers is just as fantastic - and will provide a solid conclusion to the series. And, then, we'll have an excuse to read the whole thing over, with all the pieces in place.
No bluey-green-y background which makes us think of the GEN tanks, no docks scribbled with graffiti, but ...mountains. I think the planet will once again play a role in the novel... because we're looking at "outside." Also, the outsiders, the people who are part of FHE will also show up again, no doubt. I'm dying to find out more!
I will be receiving my copy of this novel courtesy of the author and Tu Books, an imprint of Lee & Low. After April 2014, you can find your copy online or at a brick-and-mortar indie bookstore near you. It's almost here! Spring is coming!