Aberrant, by Ruth Silver
Published by LazyDay Publishing
In the future dystopian society of Cabal, the government instills equality for all and offers its citizens the perfect system. There is food, shelter and jobs for everyone. The one requirement is to follow the rules without question, including the government’s match in marriage and “The Day of the Chosen”, a lottery that randomly selects families to conceive children as natural means hasn’t existed in generations.
Following her eighteenth birthday, Olivia Parker accepts her requirement to marry her childhood best friend, Joshua Warren, and is eager to start her work assignment and new life when it all comes abruptly to an end as she’s arrested and thrown in prison. The only crime committed: her existence.
Olivia is unlike the rest of the world, born not from The Day of the Chosen. The truth haunts the government and puts her life in grave danger as one simple fact would destroy the perfect system.
With Joshua’s help, Olivia breaks free of prison and is forced on the run. Together they set out to find the promised rebel town in search of a new home and new life together. Their situation seems less than promising as they reach the town of Haven. New rules and customs must be adhered to in order to stay. Leaving would mean certain death in the large expanse of the Gravelands. Time is running out as the government mounts an attack to destroy Olivia and bury her secret with her. Thrown into a world unlike their own, they must quickly adapt to survive.
I was contacted by Ruth Silver, the author of this book, to promote Aberrant. In the next post will be an interview, spotlight and giveaway. She gave me a copy of the book to read, but it goes without saying that this review is honest.
I thoroughly enjoyed this book. I was thrown headfirst into the action, first meeting Olivia when she is preparing for her wedding day. This piqued my interest, which was held right the way to the end. It was a brilliant dystopian plot, full of turns that I wasn’t expecting. It reminded me a bit of The Hunger Games and Brave New World, in that the government was very much in control – so much so that it could control the most intimate of features in its inhabitants’ lives. There’s a lot of uncertainty throughout the book as to what will happen to Olivia. She’s often not as safe as she would like to be, and feels the weight of expectation, the latter of which is something I think a lot of young adults can relate to.
I think what enhanced the book for me was Olivia and Joshua. Their relationship is written really well; as best friends with a complicated aspect thrown in, there’s the right touch of familiarity versus the unknown. Throughout, they work as a team, the realism of which I liked – it makes a change to the power games that appear in other YA books where sexual tension is at the forefront. Josh and Olivia have been raised in an environment where conception – and therefore sex – doesn’t happen, which made a really refreshing change. Even though they’re 18, the reader is able to see certain realisations bloom in their minds, and that was great to read!
When I interviewed her, Ruth Silver said about what inspired her to write the book:
Often, we as a society implement the use of vaccines, especially in preventing disease and now even cervical cancer. Of course the vaccines are all safe and approved by the relevant authorities for the country you live in. I decided to think a little further ahead, and a little darker. What if it was an epidemic where everyone was required to get vaccinated and testing had been shortened or barely done at all?
Hearing it put like that made me uneasy, because it brings home how potentially easy it could be for something to strike the world, and for us to find ourselves in a dystopia. I think stories such as this one, where it stems from a simple idea, are the most effective. Mix that in with great characterisation, a little bit of the supernatural, and a plot that twists and turns, and you’re sorted. A great read, thoroughly recommended.