Does the Soterion hold the key to saving civilization?
In a post-apocalyptic world where no-one lives beyond their teenage years, the mysterious Roxanne arrives in Cyrus’s village, fleeing the barbaric Zeds. She claims to be on a mission that can save them all, but can she be trusted? Cyrus joins her in her quest for the legendary Soterion, but the Zeds are determined to get there first.
Set a hundred years in the future, an epidemic has caused all adults to die, and everyone since to die in their nineteenth year. This promised to be a very original and thought-provoking dystopian, and while I did enjoy it, I think it could have been much better.
The story was quick to start with the drama, but it was incredibly confusing at first. I couldn't quite grasp why there were these two groups, almost religious sects or something... but now that I think about it, they do represent the two ways that society can turn after an apocalypse: try to recreate the ways of the past or break down into murderous thugs. But my point is that it was all simplified, yes, but not explained how these groups had come into being after the Great Death. I would have liked some technical world-building and explanations, but that's just me.
It was set in the future, but because of the break down of society, it felt like the 1600's, with the lack of knowledge about technology and suspicion about strangers, which made for some very interesting situations and unique problems that nowadays could be easily solved. And because of this inability to pass on knowledge, books were rare and the ability to read was valuable. Luckily, the community Roxanne comes from has three books, on which they had based all their theories of the Long Dead. This made for some very funny in contrast to the drama of the end of the world, especially trying to make sense of Peter Pan! Now, speaking of Roxanne, I had my moments of dislike. There was some superficial development in most of the characters but I think the thing that really annoyed me was the instant attraction between Cyrus and Roxanne. It seemed forced and I'm really pleased that it didn't become the main focus of the story.
It was very interesting concept and raised issues I hadn't really thought of: like the loss of knowledge and having kids when you're 15. The world building was imaginative and original, but sometimes the characters or the situation was spelt out too easily. This is the main reason I think I am just too old for this; a younger reader would enjoy it more and probably not have as many analytical criticisms!
Published May 2013 by Curious Fox. Thank you to the publisher for my copy in exchange for an honest review.