Title & Author: The Ungoverned, Jaq C. Reed
Genre & Publication Date: Dystopian, April 30, 2015
Book Description: “Ara is Code Yellow. In a world of assignment, there is no choice. Ara lives, works, and breathes under the rule of the Governance.
It’s a race against time, as every minute is counted down off her clock of life. The annual cull of the population threatens her friends, family; everyone close to her.
Missteps lead to questioning and torture. She is genetic perfection; the impure of the Nation are cast out and terminated. Mingling with anyone outside of Rank brings with it the possibility of code collision and death.
The Code keeps everyone, including Ara, under complete control of the Governance. Until she becomes unCoded. From a life of drudgery, Ara unwittingly becomes the face of revolution.
With the forbidden love of the Governor’s son and the Cull looming, can she save her friends from torture? Can she save her family from certain death? Can she save herself? In a world of surveillance, where death is at every turn– Will she allow herself to be Governed? Or join the ranks– of the few that are— THE UNGOVERNED”
First Line: The beach was empty that morning, the same as it was every morning.
My Take: This book was provided to me by the author for review.
Told from the perspective of seventeen year old Ara, we’re taken into a world rebuilt following the collapse of the Earth-that-was. This new world, called the Nation, is one of regimen and strict control over the population, cloaked in the guise of salvation.
There were a couple of very engaging themes in this one that I really enjoyed: The first being that no matter how repressed or manipulated, human beings will always retain the instinctive need to be free. True, some may believe they are free simply because someone told them so, but there are always others who sense the lie, even if they can’t articulate the feeling to themselves.
The second was that people are not always what they seem at first glance. It’s not often that I see character assumptions confounded in a story. Several times I had that surprised “Oh, unexpected!”-moment, which is awesome.
I really loved the environmental angle on this one. Very unique. So often stories take us to futures and worlds in which nature is paved over in submission to technological advance. This book examines the truth of such a reality. Consider, for a moment, what it would be like never to hear the wind through the trees, never to watch spring blossoms bursting to life, or smell the heady scent of summer rain on the air. We’d realize, once they’re gone, that all those little things we took for granted were what gave beauty to our everyday lives and a connection to all that came before us.
The Magical: Fast paced with great world building. The suffocation, fear and paranoia of their lives was palpable. Fantastic tension that kept me turning the pages, not to mention a few scenes that were real gut-punches (On a side note, is it masochistic of me to actually like it when that happens?).
The Mundane: A couple of craft notations: Some clunky sentence structure here and there, as well as a couple of head-hopping paragraphs in chapters that were otherwise exclusively told from Ara’s perspective. These were a little jarring but as this is a pre-published version, I’m sure those are being taken care of.
Summary of Thoughts: Like the environment, the human condition is comprised of a very delicate balance. In the same way that power corrupts, so too can passivity be our undoing. This isn’t to say that violence is the answer. There are many examples in history in which passive resistance brought about great change. What’s meant here is the complacent attitude of the many permits the unjust ways of the few. Immorality can show itself not just in action, but in inaction as well. Here is a lesson in courage and balance, one that is aptly and artistically conveyed through a well told story.
Many thanks to author Jaq C. Reed for providing an advance copy to review!
To find out more about the author and this upcoming release, check out her website here