New year, new review, yay! I’m happy it starts with good news about a lovely debut piece. How often does it happen that someone’s first book seems like written by the experienced author? And how often does it happen you finish a book and want to start immediately the second sequel? Barely, I would say, at least to me. But all mentioned happened while I was reading Article Three by Anna Jakobsson Lund.
One of the keys to success of Article Three are the main characters Levi, Ava and Leymah – they are likeable, flawed, and the storyline unfolds around their actions. There are no unnecessary turns and explanations which would only slow down the action. Anna knows perfectly how to introduce important elements of System, as well as additional characters. Their existence in the story is never random and finding out what are their connections made their presence more valuable. And of course, as Article Three is just the first sequel of an upcoming trilogy, there are still enough unanswered questions to keep us readers hooked until the next book comes up. Also, big plus for me was the absence of romance. Somehow, I would expect a lingering touch here, a quick kiss there, but fortunately nothing of this destroys the group of two girls and one boy on their quest. Which I consider not only clever from the writer’s point of view, aka sticking to the storyline, but also as almost necessary reminder that not all books must contain some sort of traditional love story to have enough potential for readers. Saying this though, I’m aware there are additional two books coming and some similar twist is expectable, but let’s not count chickens before they are hatched.
Another important factor of greatness of Article Three is reliability of the story. Granted, there are already nations where people are divided into classes more aggressively and permanently, another ones control every step of their citizens, whose attempted rebellions end up most of the time if not purely tragically, at least ingloriously. Article Three processes and develops this frightening reality of people being assigned their life purpose solely based on an exam, very much like teenagers who need to decide the direction of their education without having much idea what to do with their lives at a given moment. There is a theme of future society living under the supervision of Big Brother, citizens living in fear of their unauthorized actions being discovered and punished accordingly.
The only and really tiny issue I had was with a written form of one dialect. Being a non-native speaker of English, it took me some time to get use to way some of the characters speak and understand, however I understand it was necessary for distinguishing residential areas, similar to The City & The City by China Miéville.
I guess what I wanted to say with all my review is simply get this book and read it, even though you are not a big fan of young adult literature, nor fantasy, science fiction, action, thriller, whatever. It took me literally few pages to understand how well written this piece is, and I couldn’t hardly guess how incredibly elaborated is its storyline.