Hiya, it’s Heather posting today! Hope you’re all having a super summer, I’m not particularly well at the moment so apologies for a shorter than normal review. Many thanks to the author for letting me read this in exchange for an honest review.
Author: Nick Wilford
Published: September 2017
Publisher: Superstar Peanut
Length: 180 pages
Genre: Young Adult, Dystopian
Brief Description (from Amazon)
What is the price paid for the creation of a perfect society?
In Whitopolis, a gleamingly white city of the future where illness has been eradicated, shock waves run through the populace when a bedraggled, dirt-stricken boy materialises in the main street. Led by government propaganda, most citizens shun him as a demon, except for Wellesbury Noon – a high school student the same age as the boy.
Upon befriending the boy, Wellesbury feels a connection that he can’t explain – as well as discovering that his new friend comes from a land that is stricken by disease and only has two weeks to live. Why do he and a girl named Ezmerelda Dontible appear to be the only ones who want to help?
As they dig deeper, everything they know is turned on its head – and a race to save one boy becomes a struggle to redeem humanity.
This novel is set in a spotless society (they’d despise my house) called Whitopolis in which even the word dirt is confusing to the citizens. One day, a kid named Mallinger from another place suddenly appears there – and this boy is covered in dirt, so naturally the citizens are terrified and condemn him as a ‘demon’. Meanwhile, Wellesbury is bored of how routine and perfectionistic their lifestyle is, so talk of a ‘demon’ intrigues him and he decides to investigate.
I found the concept of living in an immaculate society really creative. There’s no illness, most people live until they’re a hundred, and everything is fairly uneventful. This did rub off on some of the characters too. With the exception of Wellesbury, Ezmerelda and Tindleson, everyone living there seemed content with their lives yet were distant, passive and dull, almost lacking any energy. Wellesbury was a good protagonist; I really liked how innocent he was, harbouring a sweet crush for Ezmerelda and wanting to help Mallinger, but also struggling with his peers as school. Ezmerelda was animated and passionate, her bravery and thirst for justice making her very likable and a strong character. To be honest, I felt that Tindleson was introduced too late on in the book and seemed to very suddenly gain the trust of Wellesbury and Ezmerelda.
“Her eyes had colour. Her skin had colour. Ezmerelda longed for more colour in her world.”
Sometimes, I found myself yearning for just a little more imagery – it’s particularly hard in fantasy and science fiction books because the reader needs to feel convinced that the place could exist. It’s the little things like the shade of the paving slabs, descriptions of the hovercars and food, did they have garages? Was there any fake grass or stone patches or was the outside completely concrete? Did they have windows and statues? Teensy details like the sound of one’s footsteps on different materials can really help to develop a sense of realism for the reader. The whole concept of eradicating anything vaguely unclean does make one question how toddlers were dealt with pre-toilet-training stage and whether dust was an issue. Were paint stains frowned upon? I know that a certain amount of information should be left to the imagination, but I’m a curious person and the idea of Whitopolis sparked my interest, so these questions bugged me.
I enjoyed this novel, but felt it needed just a little bit more description. The grammar was flawless, though there was an overuse of ellipses at the start. If you’ve read it, let me know your thoughts below!