There is something so compelling about reading how humanity strives to overcome conditions meant to crush the human spirit.
Book Title: Sovereignty by Anjenique Hughes
Category: YA fiction, 262 pages
Genre: Dystopian Sci-Fi
Publisher: Morgan James Publishing
Release date: July 19, 2016
Content Rating: PG-13 for crude language and violence
Under the totalitarian reign of the 23rd century's world's government- The Sovereign Regime- control is made possible by the identity chip implanted in every human being, recording everything that is seen, done, and experienced.
No more bank accounts.
No more smart phones.
No more secrets.
When Goro inadvertently overhears an exchange of sensitive information, causing him to confront the truth about his world and prompting him to choose his true loyalties, his dream of revolution kicks into high gear. Goro doesn't know he has covert intel in his possession both the SR and the resistance movement are desperate to acquire.
Determined to attempt the impossible task of bringing down the world government, he and his closest friends gain access to the key to ultimately deciding who has sovereignty.
But who will get to Goro first: The resistance or the Sovereign Regime?
As I was reading it, I couldn't help but be reminded of the Nazi regime. There is something so compelling about reading how humanity strives to overcome conditions meant to crush the human spirit. The world-building is good and it's done through the eyes of Goro, an 18 year-old who has a loving family with two siblings: a 5 year-old brother Josiah (I loved his character and was glad the author included him) and Stephanie, his teen sister who is about to graduate.
Because it's written in first person POV, we really get to know Goro the main protagonist well. He is a strong character who cares about others. He has a sensitive side but also a quick temper and acts with impulsiveness and a lack of maturity at times, typical of teens his age. He was such a realistic character, well drawn out, who grew on me. We get to see how tragedy and the need for change in his world helped him to grow into the young man that would be instrumental in bringing about that change.
Because the story is told by Goro, even serious situations are tempered by his humour and boyish antics. I had to look up several words in the urban dictionary (or asked my kids what they meant!) and realised how much language has evolved since I was a teen. Being a high school teacher, I can see how the author was able to create a believable male teen character, from his language to his actions.
Sovereignty explores themes of friendship, family, leadership and the right to rule. The author starts every chapter with a quote which I loved. Throughout the novel, references were made to cultural icons and expressions of our century which I thought distracted from the world of the 23rd century. A few would have been fine, but in order for the reader to be totally immersed in the new dystopian world, new expressions and ideologies need to be reaffirmed to make sure as a reader I don't leave that new world.
Do not be deterred by the book's cover, if like me, you are not fond of depictions of youngsters with guns. I think a symbol, like the one of the cover of The Hunger Games or the Legend trilogy by Marie Lu would be more fitting as it would appeal to a wider audience since the YA genre is read by all ages. If you like dystopian novels, this one is a great start to its trilogy. I look forward to reading Triunity, the second book in which Goro's sister will play a bigger role.
With master's degrees in education, special education, and counseling, Anjenique "Jen" Hughes is a high school English and math teacher who loves teaching and mentoring young people. She enjoys traveling and has worked with youth on five continents. Saying she is "young at heart" is an understatement; she is fluent in sarcasm, breaks eardrums with her teacher voice (students have complained when they were within earshot), and cracks sarcastic jokes with the best of her students. Her work with ethnically and socioeconomically diverse youth has inspired her to write books that appeal to a broad variety of students seeking stories of bravery, perseverance, loyalty, and success.
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