A little while ago a book with an extremely stylish cover landed on my desk — Genesis, Book 1 in the Rosie Black Chronicles, by Lara Morgan (author of The Twins of Saranthium books — Awakening and Betrayal). It’s a YA, somewhat dystopian spec fic epic that will soon be continued in Equinox.
It is set in the city of Newperth in a future world of contrasts — the human race has colonised Mars, but the Earth is ravaged by MalX, a new virulent form of Malaria; people live in the big, shiny city of Newperth, with the out-of-bounds ruins of the old city close by; many people live in luxury in the centre of the city, while others live in poverty on the outskirts. In this world, we are introduced to an ordinary teenage girl named Rosie Black, who finds a locked box. In that box are secrets with the potential to destroy a very powerful organisation… and the people behind this organisation will stop at nothing to make sure their secrets stay hidden. With her best friend killed and her father kidnapped, Rosie must rely on the help of her aunt, a mysterious stranger and a feral teenage boy.
It’s a well-plotted, competently written, exciting story. Rosie and the other good guys are all likeable, and you want them to win. The bad guys are nasty and unlikeable, and you read the book hoping that they will get their comeuppance. All the ingredients are here for a successful and entertaining book — and it is entertaining and enjoyable. Certainly, other reviews have said great things about it (see here and here). But for me it was missing something — a vital spark to turn it from a good book into a great book. The plot, while exciting and interesting, is a little predictable; the setting, a typical, slightly dystopian science fiction setting; the characters, good but missing vitality. I can’t help but compare it to other recent genre books that I’ve read — Kirsty Murray’s Vulture’s Gate, for instance, a dystopian, YA science fiction novel that definitely has that special spark, making it one of my favourite books from 2009.
If book 2 of the Rosie Black Chronicles was to come across my desk, I’d happily read it (and probably enjoy it)— but I won’t be eagerly awaiting it and rushing off to buy it the moment it is released (as I have done with Behemoth, the sequel to Scott Westerfeld’s Leviathan).
Now, I should caution potential readers. This is just my opinion. And just because the book didn’t spark for me, doesn’t mean it won’t spark for you. Reading is such a subjective pastime. Do remember, I am the person who thought Lord of the Rings was an incredible snore-fest… so my judgement is not necessarily to be trusted. 🙂
For more info about Lara Morgan and her writing, check out her website.
And tune in next time for a Merry Christmas post.
Catch ya later, George
PS. Follow me on Twitter… or I’ll be forced to tell you what I really think of Lord of the Rings. 😉