Friday, 1 June 2012

Book Review: Hope's Daughter by Melanie Cusack-Jones

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 602 KB
  • Print Length: 314 pages
  • Publisher: BookBaby; 1 edition (1 Dec 2011)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language English
Life should be simple for Cassie. 

For the small population of Earth survivors who live on the Space Station Hope everything they do is planned and scheduled, down to the cyclical food menus, their roles in the station, even how many children they have. 

Despite rigid controls directing her life, Cassie feels more out of synch than ever and worries she won’t find a place for herself within the station community. Perhaps that’s because she’s hearing things inside her head that can’t possibly be real. Or maybe it’s the regular elopements of her peers, heading off to a romantic future in the Married Quarter of the space station, whilst she’s never even been attracted to a boy – no matter how hard her best friend Ami pushes them at her. Then there are the odd questions her work placement partner Balik keeps raising. His questions are just as troubling for her as his distracting smiles and eyes that seem to see inside her.

As Cassie draws closer to Balik she finds that everything else in her life begins to shift. He tells her things that call into question the system they live within. She can't believe he is right, but at the same time she finds it hard to deny the sincerity of his ideas. Could there be a connection between Cassie’s problems and Balik’s questions? The truth will drag them both to a terrifying and deadly conclusion beyond anything they could have imagined.

Hope’s Daughter took me totally by surprise. I’m not sure what I was expecting, but what I got was so, so much more.

The world Cassie lives in is totally different from ours. It is set in the future after Earth has been destroyed, and the surviving humans live on a space station called Hope. The story starts with Cassie as she is sitting her exams when a boy across the room catches her eye. She has known Balik for years, has noticed he is very reserved and doesn’t say much. Except today, when he draws her into conversation and Cassie can’t help but take him all in.

Cassie and Balik are together for work placement and Cassie finds herself looking forward to the time they get to spend together. At first she doesn’t notice the subtle changes in her feelings, how Balik can seem to see straight inside her and his soft questions probe her mind. It seems the more time she spends with Balik, the more curious her parents become of him.

It isn’t until Cassie’s best friend elopes to the Married Quarter that she begins to really question what is going on around her…and if they dreams she has been having, and the voices she hears, are really true after all.

Hope’s Daughter had me on the edge of my seat from…oh, page two. I loved the way Cassie slowly fell for Balik, how it wasn’t a sudden eruption of feelings and instant love. The book is written in soft, dreamy prose that enchant the reader and lull them into a false sense of security. And then the author rips the rug out from under us.

In the best possible way, this book creeped the heck out of me. All the hairs on the back of my neck stuck up and I almost felt like I was being watched, that somehow I was being observed through my Kindle, my reactions recorded for data. Yes, I have a very active imagination. But also the author deserves one massive round of applause for making my imagination run away with itself.

This book had me constantly guessing what was going to happen next. It had more than enough plot twists and turns, and beautiful character development. I fell head over heels for these characters, and Balik, I simply adore you.

Read this book and love it. As far as YA dystopians go…it’s up there with Divergent. Seriously. 

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