I noticed the reviews on Goodreads were somewhat mixed and there was some debate about whether the idea here was “new” or just another dystop. I actually don’t know that I’d class it technically as a dystop at all. It’s really an “alternate world” story where history diverged from our own in 1918 and it’s a re-imagined future from that point.
Technicalities aside, I found Fama’s writing style engaging and easy to fall into without much effort. The characters were brilliant and the heroine (Sol) had a real voice. I often struggle with what critics mean by “voice” but, however you define it, Sol has it in spades. She’s feisty and impulsive and her goal is set out in the first few paragraphs – she’s going to kidnap her estranged brother’s baby so her grandfather can hold her once before he dies.
Her potential romantic interest and unlikely partner in crime, D’Arcy (named after the French caves, not the Austen character) is a great counterweight to Sol. He’s more thoughtful and meticulous, but he has a rebellious streak too.
While there are undoubtedly plot holes – there usually are when an author re-imagines a world that’s the same, but different – the writing and characters were definitely engaging enough for me to suspend my disbelief and go with it.
The ending is not a cliffhanger (thank goodness because I’m SO sick of those), but there is definitely room for more books with these characters and this setting, if Fama wants to go in that direction. I hope she gets the chance because I’d certainly read more of Sol and D’Arcy’s story.