Monday, August 18, 2014

Review: Otherborn (Otherborn #1) by Anna Silver

Title: Otherborn (Otherborn #1)
Author: Anna Silver
Source: Contest Win
Genre: Young Adult, Dystopia
Release Date: April 4, 2014
Reviewed by: Jasmyn

London and her teenage friends live in a reprocessed world.

Confined within Capital City’s concrete walls, London has done the impossible and the illegal. She’s created something New- a song. But her mentor, club owner Pauly, is not impressed. Since the historic Energy Crisis forced everyone behind walls generations ago, the Tycoons have ensured there is truly nothing new allowed under the sun. Pauly warns London to keep her song to herself, if she knows what’s good for her. 

What he doesn’t know is that London is keeping an even bigger secret: she dreams. And she’s not alone. London’s band-mates and friends have begun dreaming as well, seeing themselves in “night pictures” as beings from another world. As Otherborn, they must piece together the story of their astral avatars, the Others, in order to save their world from a dreamless, hopeless future. 

When Pauly is murdered and an Otherborn goes missing, London realizes someone is hunting them down. Escaping along the Outroads, they brave the deserted Houselands with only their dreams to guide them. Can they find their friend before the assassin finds them? Will being Otherborn save their lives, or destroy them?

I really loved Anna Silver's idea of what a dystopian society would be like.  I couldn't imagine trying to live in a world where nothing was new.  Now I'm not just talking about physical items.  Creativity is gone - no new songs, new ideas, new books (perish the thought).  Then London writes a new song - this is the big turning point and all hell begins to break loose.  And she's not just creating - she's also dreaming (another thing that no longer happens to anyone).  She gathers a group of other teenagers that also dream and they discover their dreams are more than just that - they are connections to another place, time, and people.

There is a great mix of action and discovery in this story.  There is always something going on, but sometimes it's an internal realization or group conversation.  There is also a "high speed" car chase, a shoot out, and several instances of running for their lives.  A good combination to reach out to a variety of readers.

London is our main character and is very well developed.  She is constantly evolving based on what she sees in her dreams and experiences around her.  The rest of the crew does not seem to evolve as much, and I really wish I had seen a little more from them.  Maybe in the next book they will shine a bit more.  The Tycoons are the controllers of everything and a character unto themselves.  They are this ominous figure always looming in the background.  Their physical absence from most of the story only made them more mysterious and foreboding.

I love a unique dystopian story, and with the genre exploding they can be hard to find.  This one really fit the bill, and if those side characters had just had a tad more depth it would have gotten five stars.

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