Unlike some other dystopian future sci-fi books, this has a
very simple premise – and that is by far its biggest strength. With the premise that, for the benefits to a
privileged few thousand, correctly conditioned, the entire planet’s human
population is instantaneously wiped out – the objective for this obviously explained
by the title “The Utopia Project” – it is the ultimate worst-case dream/nightmare
scenario. Of course, as always with the
genre, the forecast “Utopia” is in reality the exact opposite. However, a malfunction in the genocide leaves
a small band of survivors (who just happen to be young adults). For most of the book, it is rather suspense thriller
than outright sci-fi, as the deranged megalomaniac in charge hunts them down –
as he would any survivors. It is only perhaps
in the final quarter that it starts to resemble more familiarly the standard Walking
Dead-esque post-apocalypse formula, as clues are pieced together and the protagonists
learn that the potential for finding other survivors grows.
I’m not one to spoil a book, but be warned that Dering has
clearly written this with a sequel in mind.
It’s not bad, and a pretty entertaining read. Well-written, though perhaps a little of the
punctuation left something to be desired.
All in all, it kept me in suspense.
And, unusually for the futuristic YA genre, I actually found most of the
characters pretty likeable. I won’t say
it stands out in any way amongst its type, but you could definitely read much
worse; as I’ve already stated, the strength of this title is its simplicity –
and let’s be truly honest, who hasn’t fantasized about a world in which the
entire human population has perished and they are among the only
survivors? This book peels back some of
the layers of that fantasy, and considers the reasons why it may not be quite as
much fun as we thought (none less so than the 7 billion bodies lying around,
An interesting and thankfully subtle take on the sci-fi YA
genre, and not a bad one at all to kill time with.
In : Book Reviews