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All Things Now Living (Seventh Daughter) Paperback – May 15, 2017
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From the Back Cover
Sixteen-year-old Amy doesn't like anything to die, she won't even eat the goats or chickens her mama has butchered every fall, but she can't let herself pity the inhabitants of New Lithisle. In a few short months the dome they built to isolate themselves from the deadly pandemic is predicted to collapse, but her whole life Amy has been taught it's God's will they die. They traded their souls for immunity to the swine flu virus, brought God's curse upon themselves by adding pig genes to their own.
Then, while on a scavenging trip with her father, Amy is accidentally trapped in New Lithisle. At first her only goal is to escape, but when she meets Daniel, a New Lithisle boy, she begins to question how less-than-human the people of New Lithisle are.
Amy's feelings grow even more conflicted when she learns she didn't end up in New Lithisle by mistake. Her father is secretly a sympathizer,and was trying to prevent the coming destruction.
Now time is running short and Amy has to decide if she will bring the computer program her father wrote to his contact or save herself.Installing the program could prevent the dome's collapse, but if Amy doesn't find her father's contact in time, she'll die, along with everyone else.
About the Author
Rondi Bauer Olson is a reader and writer from Michigan's Upper Peninsula. Her debut novel for young adults, ALL THINGS NOW LIVING, was a finalist in the 2012 Genesis Contest. She and her husband, Kurt, live on a hobby farm with three of their four mostly-grown children, along with a menagerie of animals including, but not limited to, horses, cows, alpacas, goats, dogs,cats, rabbits, chickens, and parrots. Rondi also works as a registered nurse and owns a gift shop located within view of the beautiful Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore.
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Top customer reviews
In a futuristic setting, a plague strikes a society (that may be future Earth). The book focuses on the conflicting survival strategies of two groups of people. The interesting thing here is that Olson imagines two very religious groups, for whom their religious principles are fundamental to the choices that form their survival strategies. This is not a conflict between believers and pragmatic skeptics; this is a war between believers whose faith in God ought to unite them.
The divider is cloning. One group has retreated inside an "aegis", an electromagnetic dome in which they can cultivate an environment safe from disease, and then experiment with introducing animal genes into their bloodlines that will boost their immunity. The other group chooses the more natural route, surviving as best they can in the wild. Naturally, the outsiders view the insiders as abominations, as they take on some of the characteristics of the fish, pigs, or even rats whose genetic material they share.
This may sound over the top, and you might view the outsiders, with their dehumanizing view of the insiders, as brutal fundamentalists. Olson transcends the polemics typical with fiction on religious themes, however, and manages to present both sides with sympathy and nuance. This is not hard sci-fi; creating a detailed justification for the futuristic elements is not Olson's goal. People who can't tolerate some hand-waving should be warned. (I had no trouble with the sci-fi myself.)
For me, the one disappointment was that the brisk pace was, if anything, a bit too relentless. Olson introduces some touching and even tragic elements into the story, including an intense love story between two appealing young protagonists, and sometimes I wished she had lingered over the more intense scenes, giving them the weight the reader's emotions demand.
A religious sci-fi romance: I hope this book finds its audience, because it deserves to be read, and it deserves its promised sequels.
Gilchrist ignores me and moves to the edge of the rocks. I take his sleeve and hold him back. “I don’t think this is a good idea.” … Rondi. Keep this good thing going. I love it.
Am looking forward to more from this author.
Rondi Bauer Olson paints the world of the aegis vividly; her descriptions pop with crisp details. She also gently portrays Amy’s inner conflicts as her encounters with genetically-modified people lead her to question her community’s teachings. Amy finds the physical manifestations of the animal genes—fish scales and gills, coyote tails, and mouse squeaks, repulsive—but the people’s courage, kindness, and commitment to family move her to compassion, respect, and even affection. "All Things Now Living" is a fast-paced, action-packed dystopian novel for young adults. Plot twists and turns are written with excellent timing, keeping the narrative moving and the reader on the edge of her seat. ~ Terri