Monday, November 1, 2010

The Roar by Emma Clayton

The Roar
Mika lives with his mom and dad in the refugee area "behind the wall" in England. When the Animal Plague threatened human existence on Earth all humans moved to a protected area behind a massive wall around the northern third of the planet. Now, people must deal with massive overcrowding, food shortages, and basically a dismal existence. Mika life is doubly dismal for his twin sister, Ellie, disappeared about a year ago and everyone believes she died. Everyone, that is, except Mika. He *knows* that Ellie is still alive, but can't convince anyone else of the truth. When he government begins a program to improve the fitness of all twelve-year-olds and holds a contest to find the best players of a virtual reality video game, Mika begins to suspect it's somehow connected to his missing sister. He is determined to be among the winners, in hopes of finding his sister, but along the way discovers the truth is more terrifying that imagined.

Okay, there's a lot I liked about The Roar. I'd become so involved in certain sections that I'd read for 100 pages without realizing it. There's a twist at the end that wasn't what I had expected or suspected at all. BUT ... I didn't like feeling so confused or lost through most of the reading. Big sections of the story are devoted to Mika, and we'd get all involved with his story, and then, bam, we're suddenly switched to Ellie and her story. These changes in point of view seemed abrupt and unnatural to me. It took me out of the story, which probably is the reason it too me so long to read.

Overall, I loved the idea behind the story and yes, can see some exciting possibilities in the sequel. My hope is that it's better organized and flows a bit more smoothly. I give this one a 'B.'

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