Thursday, April 11, 2013

Sneak & Swipe: Book Review

It’s becoming a theme… I’m reading speculative fiction these days, especially end-of-the-world, multi-book epics. (Wait, doesn’t that include most fantasy/sci-fi/dystopian stories now?) I've also been reading more YA fiction, and while I'm still not a huge fan, I am developing some interest.

At any rate, in one of the latest series, Evan Angler has taken on the powers that be, recounting the desperate perils of Logan Langly, soon-to-be-loyal citizen of the new American Union. (That is, Logan is a soon-to-be-citizen until things go badly awry. Don’t bother reading, Angler says. You’ll only get dragged into trouble yourself.)

In Angler’s Swipe, the first book of the series, Logan is counting down the days until his Pledge. Like all his friends, he must go to the Pledge-Center on his thirteenth-birthday to be Marked.  The Mark on his wrist will allow him to travel, buy, communicate, visit the doctor—it will allow him to survive. The Mark will reflect his allegiance to the American Union.

Unfortunately, Logan’s older sister never returned after her Pledge. With everything happening around him, it seems as though Logan might just suffer the same fate.

While Swipe starts out a bit slow, by the beginning of Sneak, Logan and his friends have been trapped into a dark spiral of danger and confusion. His only hope seems to be inside the country’s capital, inside the most secure prison ever imagined. The only real challenge is getting there—and then finding it. No one even knows where it might be, or what exists inside the prison.  

When I picked up Swipe recently, the book felt like an interesting beginning, if a little disconnected. I wondered in a couple places when the action would start, but by the time I got through Sneak I had found plenty of action and was ready for more. A lot of books seem to follow a plot-line that reads powerful government/therefore revolution. Angler, in contrast, shows the development of a powerful government, producing to a counterculture, slowly fomenting into a revolution. I also really enjoy how Angler plays with the ideas of a “banned book,” an underground railway, and safe houses along the way.

The next book Storm doesn’t come out until May, but I will be curious to see then how the story continues then, in part just to see how Angler continues these ideas. Overall, though, I would recommend Sneak and Swipe as a good, Young-Adult dystopian story. (If that’s not an oxymoron.) Until then, if you dare, you might check out the first chapter of Swipe here, from Thomas Nelson

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