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Necessary Sacrifices (The Internal Defense Series Book 2) Kindle Edition
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|Length: 366 pages||Word Wise: Enabled||Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled|
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So much is going on in this book that I'm not gonna reveal it all in my review; that would spoil the whole thing. Suffice it to say that the expression 'trust no one' applies throughout the book. The most terrifying thing of all is that in a way, Necessary Sacrifices is not fiction; this is really what society was like in my neighboring country (Germany) not too long ago - the Stazis kept an eye on everything, and you never knew who they were: your friends, neighbors, teachers, etc. which is what kept people obedient and on their toes. This kind of stuff really happened. Watch the movie 'Das Leben der Anderen' to see what I mean.
In short, I can't wait for the big conclusion to this series, and I commend Ms Cannon for writing a compelling story about characters that feel real and struggle with things that make them question their own motives every day.
This is an extremely oppressive and bleak dictatorship, where there is very little or no hope, and where there has been no significant technological development with respect to the world we know.
There is no way of knowing in which country we are, only that we are in an English-speaking country.
Reasons to read it: one cannot avoid identifying with the young girl who is the heroin, who has a number of issues, like determining what is ethical in this type of society, where state-sanctioned murder is not only acceptable but even welcome, and inter alia what she can do with respect to her mother, who plays an important role in the repressive system.
Am not giving five stars only because the authour could have worked a tad more on the description of the oppressive regime and its history.
This might have helped with the suspension of disbelief necessary to read any SF or dystopian book.
**Torturer's Daughter Spoilers Ahead! You have been warned!!!** I think the thing that really bugged me about the book was that Becca chose her mom over a boy. I wasn't sure why it bugged me. It seemed reasonable, even likely. I had to admit that I would probably have made the same decision as a young person. But... I didn't like it, because I wanted excitement and danger and risk and... It just seemed so not YA, you know? Like, in most YA books, the parents are bumbling idiots who get left in the dust while the teens solve the problems. They aren't valued. I kept waiting for The Torturer's Daughter to turn into Uglies or something. I kept expecting the characters to run off into the woods and create an alternate society that would fight the evil Internal Defense and restore balance to the Force. Or whatever. And when that didn't happen, I felt a little confused. And thoughtful. And so, I didn't write a review of the book. I thought about it a bunch, but I just felt at a loss to talk about what I felt.**Spoilers over!**
But I picked up Necessary Sacrifices recently and powered through it in an afternoon.
It was during one scene in Necessary Sacrifices that I suddenly realized that I was having what I'll call a why-isn't-this-Westerfeld reaction to the book.
As I'm wont to do, I then set the book down and daydreamed how I would have changed the whole story to make it more... well, Westerfeld, and then I picked it up, clucking to myself about what I thought was a lost chance in the story.
And then something amazing happened.
Zoe Cannon pulled the most intensely excruciating twist out of thin air, and the entire book changed for me. I don't want to give away what it was. I only want to say that the story suddenly took on another layer of complexity. The character of Becca moved out of the running for a lead role in teen-led rebellion against the state and into a completely different sort of role. A role that isn't often seen in young adult literature. (Although I suppose we could safely categorize this as new adult, couldn't we?) She was neither a heroine nor a bay guy. She was truly and completely existing in a gray area. She made a choice. An awful choice. And she changed. (Well the way I looked at her changed.)
The novel continued in this fashion, each new obstacle wrenching a knife into my gut, making me gasp at the absolute injustice of it all. And everything was topsy-turvy--what had once seemed right was now not-so-right, even possibly wrong. And how no matter what Becca did, things just got worse.
No. They didn't get worse. They STAYED THE SAME.
At the end, Becca manages a kind of triumph. It's not your typical heroine's journey, and it's not the kind of answer that leaves you feeling satiated and satisfied that all will eventually turn out right in the end. It's not Westerfeld.
It's brilliant, though. Painful. Realistic. Brutal. True. Brave. And brilliant.
And from now on, I think I'll be more likely to have why-isn't-this-Cannon reactions to the dystopias I read.