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Sunday, August 21, 2011

Review: Days Like This by Alison Stewart

Can you get enough of Dystopian themed books? My answer is no. Because once again, this immensely popular genre has managed to churn out another lovely masterpiece!

Title: Days Like This by Alison Stewart
Pages: 308
Release Date: August 1nd 2011
Published by: Penguin Australia
Source: Publisher (Thanks, Tina!)
Buy: Penguin Australia | Book Depository

Summary (from Goodreads):

She has to escape.
But who else is out there?
And can anyone survive days like this?

I want to go back to the days when life made sense. The days before our parents became strange; before the warming ate away at all the living things in the world; before The Committee and their Blacktroopers. Before the Wall.

Lily is a prisoner in her own home. Forced to stay inside by The Committee and guarded by their increasingly distant parents, Lily and her brother Daniel are beginning to ask why. Then, when Daniel disappears just before his seventeenth birthday, Lily knows she is next.

Futuristic Sydney is unlike anything anyone expects it to be. Because of Global Warming, The Wall has been built. Water levels have been rising, quakes happen, temperatures rise everyday and nothing's been the same in Lily's life ever since the Wall has been built by the Committee 12 years ago. Blacktroopers are everywhere and forcing people to take pills, her parents could care less of her, her twin brother's sick and she has never set foot out of the house in three years. All hell broke loose when her brother was taken, and Lily knew she will be taken next. Why? For what purpose? She had to find out and fast, before she disappears next, before her younger sister was taken too.

Welcome to the future. A horrible nightmare filled with teenagers being "harvested" and uncaring parents who'd do anything to defy the natural course of time. It's the evil face of science taking over this story. Vanity and cruelty go hand-in-hand in this scary tale. I think the tagline "As the world grows older, it's dangerous being young" pretty much sums up what this book is about. I was very horrified with lengths parents go through for their own selfish reasons and what the teenagers had to experience in turn. It was disgusting and even disturbing when I've read of what happened to Lily's younger sister Alice. Can people really be that selfish, to the point that they give away their own children for something unnatural?

Lily comes from a wealthy family, thus she's been living a sheltered life. All of that changed when she started questioning everything. The Committee, the pills, why her twin bother never seemed to get better. She comes off as a strong character at first, her love for her siblings evident all throughout the story. But Lily's persistence in rescuing her siblings came to a point where she became very irritating. That single-minded reason and purpose turned me off a little bit, but for all the horrors she had been through, unloved and suddenly alone, she's brave, though at times a bit impulsive and stubborn. It touched my heart that despite the tragedy that seem to constantly surrounds her, she found something worth living for when she crossed over that wall. I love how empowered the teens are in this book, although it's because of very grim circumstances.

I am so glad this book has a bit of romance in it, though very sparse and clearly it wasn't the intention of the book to be a romance novel, but it's a brief respite from what the book is really about, which was Lily breaking free of the fake life she's been confined to, and trying to get her family whole again, or at least those that matters to her. I got swept in too much emotions that I didn't care much how Kieran and Lily just seemed to be together. But I guess even in the midst of despair and devastation, that's when people see clearly how important love can be.

So many aspects in Days Like This can be seen even today. The great divide between the rich and the poor, the thirst for power and man's desire to never grow old, maybe to live forever, trying to deny themselves what was supposed to happen. We live and then we die, and if humans so much as try to disrupt that simple but natural truth, the consequences can be fatal. Man's tendency to be evil to get what one wants is depicted in this book in vivid, frightening detail. It's very unnerving, but I think that just gave this book so much appeal.

Days Like This will shock you, scare you and most of all, make you reflect just how much a society can deteriorate and become as terrifying as Alison Stewart's first novel turned out to be. It's a novel that will bring you to an edge of your seat reading experience, bleak and dark and filled with doom, but it's one that you won't be able to put down until you reach the ending.

Content (plot, story flow, character):

Shining: Worthy of a Goddess' Love!

Book Cover:

I received this book free of charge from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.


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