Sunday, February 22, 2015

Science and Society: Dove Arising

Dove Arising by Karen Bao (Dove Chronicles #1)
Viking, Expected Release Date: February 24, 2015

*ARC Provided by the publisher at ALA Midwinter 2015 - Thank you! This in no way impacted my opinions of this book.*

Phaet (pronounced 'fate') Theta has always lived a quiet life with her family on the moon. Selectively mute since the death of her father years before, she has an aptitude for her work in the greenhouses and dreams of getting through school so she can focus on the work she loves. But when her mother is arrested, the only way to save her family from destitution is to join the Militia. If she can secure a high ranking after finishing basic training, there may be just enough money to keep her siblings alive and save her mom. But first, she needs to survive training, and she can't tell if her alliance with Wes, a fellow outsider, is a blessing or a mistake.

By all accounts, this is an impressive debut considering that the author is 19 years old. She started writing this in high school and has kept up with her craft while also studying science at an Ivy League university. The plot moves along at a good pace, and Bao has clearly put a lot of thought into the world she has built, specifically the science behind all of it. In the start, this heavy usage of scientific terms felt a bit heavy-handed and clunky, but a combination of the jargon smoothing out as well as me getting used to it as a reader made it easier to understand as the story progressed.

In libraries where science fiction and dystopians are still hard to keep on the shelves, Dove Arising is a good buy. It follows a pattern that seems to be becoming common in this genre: unassuming individual finds themselves needing to make a choice that will change the course of their life, a period of training/competing is involved, and just when it looks like they're in the clear and that the worst is over, it's a good thing all that training happened because now it becomes necessary in real life and more will come to light in book 2. I was hoping for something a bit more off the beaten path. The main reason I picked this ARC up on my last day at Midwinter was because the letter to readers on the inside declared this story "speculates about the future we may be facing if we continue to devalue art, music, and literature in our lives and willingly sacrifice our freedom and privacy in the name of security." I saw glimpses of this goal throughout reading though not as much as I would have liked, but hopefully there will be more in regards to those particular issues as the series progresses.

Over the few days it took me to read this book, I was engaged and interested in what happened next. I think Bao has a lot of potential and I'd be interested in possibly checking out future books from the library if I feel a particular craving for this kind of story.

Comments welcome, and, as always, happy reading!

Karen Bao's Website
Karen Bao on Twitter

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