Chained, by Susanne Valenti
A fast-paced, well-plotted young-adult dystopian novel by first-time author Susanne Valenti, Chained is concerned with the familiar theme of teenage protagonists challenging the structures and tenets of their society in a post-apocalyptic world. While this theme is the basis for most dystopian novels, the characters of and the story told in Chained are original enough to keep readers interested. Before I write anything else, let me say this: Chained is worthy of a read if young adult dystopian fiction is a genre of choice. Fans of the Divergent series, The Hunger Games series, and similar works should enjoy this book and look forward to the sequel.
Now, for a few niggles.
The society against which Maya, the heroine, and her companions rebel is imagined and described in enough detail to give the reader a sense of how this world works. The society into which she escapes is less well realized, perhaps because it reflects, more or less, current Western society, and therefore is supposed to be already familiar to the reader. I found I had questions about the functioning of the society outside of the city from which Maya and her companions flee which were not answered in the narrative.
Maya’s thoughts and reactions to situations were not always made clear, and at times she appeared to observe what was happening to her and narrate rather than respond. In one or two cases – especially after a scene in which she is brutally assaulted – her reactions did not to me ring true. Overall, though, this does not impede the action of the narrative, and should not be a barrier to enjoying the the story.
A few production issues were mildly irritating, and perhaps the manuscript could have benefited from one final copy-edit. The author’s use of ‘alright’ rather than ‘all right’; the contraction of ‘going to’ to ‘gunna’ rather than the more familiar ‘gonna’; inconsistent capitalization of City in “Harbour City”, and an unconventional use of quotation marks in multi-paragraph dialogue were all distractions for me, pulling my focus away from the writing – which overall is effective – when they occurred.
But these are niggles only. Let me repeat that Chained, overall, is a well-told story, and I will be reading the sequel when it comes out. My overall rating for Chained? 3 ½ stars out of 5.
Chained by Susanne Valenti is available as an e-book from Amazon.
This is an independent review of a purchased book. The review was not sought by the author nor written for any benefit. The opinions stated here are mine alone.
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