Thursday, January 8, 2015

Remake by Ilima Todd

Genre: Dystopian
Pages: 288
Series: Open ended. I smell a trilogy coming on.
Rating: ****
Nine has never felt comfortable in her own skin. In Freedom, that's a temporary problem. When she turns seventeen with the rest of her Batch, she'll have one chance to choose her name, job, gender, and everything else that defines her.
But when her shuttle crashes on the way to the Remake continent, Nine washes up on a rebel island where people live without Batches and Remakes. Here, diversity is the new normalcy. People accept variety in hair color, skin tone, and even disability as facts of life. Even odder are the units they live in: families. Nine bonds with the family that pulled her from the ocean, especially with the oldest son, Kai. But Kai's got a grudge against the entire civilization of Freedom and Nine still isn't over the loss of her first boyfriend, Theron.
Nine spends a third of the book in Freedom before crash landing on the island. That was longer than I expected, though the setup is necessary. After she adjusts to initial shock of island life, it becomes idyllic for a few chapters, which is nice but boring. Except for the chapter when Kai teaches Nine to hunt octopus. Fortunately, she gets back into action before long.
Remake bravely tackles topics like gender identity and traditional families, but it does so through the eyes of a naive, innocent character. I never felt preached to, but some readers will feel differently. It's also a dystopian novel that treads well worn tropes, but the characters and daring themes breathe life into it.
On the surface, Remake may look like a cliché-ridden, potentially offensive story, but give it a chance and it just might hit home.

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