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Alice in No-Man's-Land Paperback – June 10, 2015
About the Author
James Knapp was born in New Hampshire in 1970, and has lived in the New England area since that time. He developed a love of reading and writing early on, participating in young author competitions as early as grade school, but the later discovery of works by Frank Herbert and Isaac Asimov turned that love to an obsession. He wrote continuously through high school, college and beyond, eventually breaking into the field with the publication of the Revivors trilogy (State of Decay, The Silent Army, and Element Zero). State of Decay was a Philip K. Dick award nominee, and won the 2010 Compton Crook Award. He has also written Ember, The Burn Zone, and Fallout under the pseudonym James K. Decker.
Top customer reviews
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4 1/2 Stars.
Alice in No-Man’s-Land is a New Adult-Dystopian novel set in the future as humanity rebuilds from a devastating virus. There are two types of people that inhabit the world, the haves and have-nots, and Alice is in the former group. Alice is being groomed to take over her father’s business, a job that specializes in reclamation and renewal. While on an airship going into the Ypsilanti Bloc, a ravaged slum area with her family; their airship gets shot down by Ypsilanti militants leaving Alice stranded and her brother, Cody missing. With the help of two savvy street rats, Alice is able to navigate the desolate strange land in search of her little brother, only to discover the government been lying and keeping secrets on what’s been is going in the Bloc.
This book is darker, grittier and more violent than any other dystopian I’ve read but it suits the world and characters that Knapp has created. I thought the world building was well-done; I could visualize Alice and Cody’s pod being ejected from the crashing airship, The Las Costras gang with their bald heads and tattooed bodies, and the Yagas (cannibal) chained up in the basement. The only thing that I wish was better explained is Cerulean and what Yuric Walshe did, since I’m still not 100% sure what Yuric’s job entailed. As for the characters, they were fully developed and everyone had a distinctive personality. At the beginning of the story, Alice was a naive and sheltered girl barely into adulthood. She’s from the upper-class and was provided for all her life, so when she crashed into Ypsilanti she was in for a serious rude awakening. I loved seeing Alice’s growth over the short period. She went from a clueless 'princess' to someone who isn’t afraid to fight back or fight for others who couldn’t fend for themselves. When people met Alice, they dismissed her right away because she’s a girl and because she’s one of the privileged (Glass) but despite her looks and where she came from, she showed that she can roll with the big guys and throw a few punches, no problem. I also really like Basilio and Maya, the two teenagers Alice met the first night. They may be street rats-occasional drug dealers (not by choice) but they were smart and resourceful, making the most of it from their surroundings.
At the beginning of each chapter, there is a quote/commentary from either radio shows, newscasters, government officials, or family/friends so that readers can experience different point-of-views, and see things on both sides since the book is narrated in first-person by Alice who is for the most of the book within Ypsilanti Bloc. I thought the quotes/commentaries added a nice touch in building up the world, at the same time giving readers information in an engaging manner that isn’t info-dumping. Overall, I really enjoyed Alice in No-Man’s-Land and hope there’s a sequel in the works! If you enjoy dark and gritty dystopians with a bit of science fiction then you should check Alice in No-Man’s Land out. Alice in No-Man's-Land is the best New Adult-Dystopain I've read all year. I highly recommend it!
2015 was the year I read some epic YA-Dystopia: Gods of Anthem, God's Loophole, The Divergent Series, and Alice in No Man's Land.
The story centers around Alice, a privileged girl who is dropped into a ravaged world. She is the daughter of the owner of Cerulean Holdings, a company that is realtor prospector (or looking at opportunities to gentrify) in territories known as the Bloc.
Alice's privileged world is protected from the diseased and poor by a wall and armed guards. Her only information of the Bloc is derived from her own social class and media i.e. mythologizing of the poor and oppressed. How somehow, this is their own fault and the rich are doing all they can to help.
When Alice and her brother are dropped into the Bloc, a different world opens up. One where privilege has no place or social cache and is exposed as a mythologizing principle: dehumanizing and grounded in benign neglect.
She has to rely on two characters she meets: Maya and Basilio, to save herself and her missing brother.
The story is told at a breakneck pace. The characters, Alice, Maya, and Basilio are likable. I appreciated that Maya and Basilio weren't just the 'noble poor', but also subjects in their own right.
One of the reasons why this isn't a 5 star read is, as others have noted, the awkward romance that develops, and the way in which the male character becomes a potential point of conflict for the female characters. There's a tendency to bolster the strength of female characters in YA-Dystopia with romance. As if young women aren't of any real interest unless they're damsels in distress or attractive to males.
Conversely, there's also a lack of strong friendships between female characters in the genre. In my humble opinion, I think the story would have been stronger without the romance. It didn't make a lot of sense. It also interrupts the budding friendships between the characters, potentially pitting friends against one another.
In saying that, this was a top notch read. If you like this genre, like I do, I highly recommend it.
Most recent customer reviews
Alright, let’s be honest. I was wary. Alice in No-Mans-Lands?Read more
When I first met the heroine of the story, Alice Walshe, she is on a flight to the Ypsilanti Bloc with her father, Yuric,...Read more
In exchange for an honest review, I received a free copy from the publisher via NetGalley. The author’s Revivors series is a favorite of mine.Read more
Alice in No-Man’s-Land is the story of a privileged girl who only thought of the Blocs, huge areas of...Read more
I want to start off by saying that if you like dystopian novels that are fast...Read more