The New Dark by Lorraine Thomson
In the time “Before” there was internet and electricity, and supermarkets popping up on every busy corner. But “Now” that is all long gone and long forgotten. Today Sorrel, who knows only of the past from sparse memories and stories from her grandmother, lives a quiet, rural life in the village of Amat with her mother, siblings, and best friend (and maybe more) David. That is, until a squad of mutants attacks her peacefull village, killing most everyone, and kidnapping the rest–including her brother Eli and David. As Sorrel sets out to find them, she’ll fast some of the worst that the world has to offer and find a savior, and friend, in the one person she was brought up to hate.
While I initially struggled to get into this book, it ended up being an enjoyable, quick read. I liked Sorrel’s character arc and the questions about what counts as a “worthy” or “viable” life or body are certainly important and need to be discussed more often. David’s story was slightly less compelling, but I think the development of his character in this novel sets up an interesting tension for the sequel.
However, the lack of world building became quote frustrating throughout. I was excited to enter a dystopian world, but it didn’t really feel like a dystopian novel at all until the very end. And then, there were too many unanswered questions: What happened? Why is the world segmented the way it is? How did these regional communities develop so close together without knowing about each other? Why aren’t there more remnants of Before? I was left with too many questions about how and why things worked and was missing a sense of coheseive world structure.