Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Underrated Review: Alis by Naomi Rich

Alis has never minded the strictness of the village she grew up in, she thought it was for the best and knew that her parents, who were village leaders, would never require anything more than someone would be willing to do.  Until the day her parents inform her of the unthinkable: she must marry the 40 year old religious leader of their village, rather than marry for love as they always promised everyone in the village be able to do.  Seeing this as an injustice, she wonders if she can marry him, or if she can find a way to escape the village and go to the far away city where she thinks her estranged brother lives.  But will life in the city be what she expects?  And when she gets accused of murder will she regret all thoughts of rebellion.

Alis:  Alis would have been happy to live in her society if her mother hadn't rewritten the rules by telling her to marry a man she didn't love, who was far older than her. She struggled with her desire to run away but was smart enough to see and jump at opportunities when they arose.  She was also strong enough to see her mistakes and respond.  

Alis's journey was interesting, I wondered at how she might escape or if she'd end up forced to follow the plans of others.  A lot happened in the story and it could have been fleshed out more, but still seemed paced decently.  The villain was a jerk you really wanted to see knocked down a peg or two.  My only real problem with the story was the world that it took place in.  At first I couldn't tell if it was a post-apocalyptic dystopia or if we were in some cult society closed away from the world (though I assumed dystopia).  Even when you realize that its a dystopia the world is just not explained enough, no hints are given to what brought them to this point, why this city is so different from the villages or if we are even on earth.  I thought that the story could have been a lot more interesting if the world itself were just explored a bit more.

1 comment:

  1. I completely agree about the world not being clearly defined enough. I never really understood what time or place the book was set in. It was sort of dystopian with a lot of almost Victorian elements. It would have been cool had it just been grounded a little more (the book Fever Crumb does this--crazy out-there setting, but with a clearly defined time and place).