Bristles by Donna Callea
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
George Orwell meet Cinderella, Cinderella meet George Orwell, except the descriptions of the coal fired dystopian city-state, Erba, is not near as depressing as Orwell's Oceania, and Bryssa, the first person protagonist, is not near as syrupy as Cinderella. The book is more believable than 1984 or Cinderella but has elements of both stories.
The book is billed as young adult, a genre of which I am not very familiar, but as an adult, gray haired at that, I didn't get the feeling that I was reading something that has been "younged down" like some screen play for a Nickelodian movie. Bryssa is a clear thinking 16 year old girl who perhaps through the actions of her repressive step-mother has a maturity belying her age. She longs to escape her situation in Erba and return to the land of birth mother, the Far-land Forest where it is said the the massive trees impart strange powers known as Fissian phenomena. Of course, her desire to leave is complicated by the fact that she falls in love with Aydan, the heir apparent of Erba's ruling family.
Callea is a skilled writer who has excellent character development, writes well in first person narrative, and packs a lot of punch into relatively short books by not getting bogged down in technical details or lengthy descriptions of mind numbing journeys. An excellent third novel for Ms. Callea. I hope to see more soon.
View all my reviews