Sunday, February 5, 2023

Today's read... Giften by Leyla Suzan

Today's review heads jets forward in time to a dystopian world. I found the cover interesting, and the blurb also grabbed. It's been awhile since I've read anything in this direction. The last couple dystopians I hit swung more toward a science fiction theme, and that was even a couple months ago (if memory serves me correctly). So, it seemed time to go into a richer world with 'gifts' which seem to border more on magic.

This one comes out beginning April and appears to be a stand-alone. Maybe?

by Leyla Suzan
Pushkin Children's Books
Young Adult Fantasy
304 pages

APRIL 4th!!!


Ever since The Darkening, survival has been a struggle. The people of the Field toil on parched earth, trying to forge a life amid dwindling resources.

As one of the Giften, Ruthie is a saviour to her isolated community: her hands hold the rare ability to raise food from dead soil. But she is also its greatest danger.

In the City lurks a dark army, intent on hunting Giften to harness their power, destroying all who stand in their way. With the threat growing ever stronger, Ruthie and her friends must leave behind all they have ever known and embark on a quest that will pitch them towards the City, and unknowable danger. One way or another, a battle is coming.



Rich world building with strong, character depth on the main character's end make this a tale to sink into and enjoy.

Ruthie lives in a small farming village, which barely so many other villages. After the Great Burning, the ground is almost worthless, and crops which manage to survive are divided with the government to feed the cities. But nature has given some individuals the gift to make plants thrive with a single touch to the ground. Ruthie's village harbored one of these 'Giften' until the government found out and brutally stole the boy away. As the years pass, the government's search for the Giften grows deadlier, and they will kill anyone who gets in their path. When Ruthie grows sick and ends up a Giften herself, she finds herself with a choice: run for her life or find a way to fight back.

The author does a wonderful job at creating a vivid world with tension, heart, and a desire to survive. While the first chapter sets the tone and makes the dangers of the society and life clear, the tale shifts gears, right away, and lets the reader sink into Ruthie, her life, and the village around her. The first portion of the book, allows the reader time to get to know her, her family situation, daily routines, desires, and fears...and all of this in an interesting way which doesn't bore. Then, just when it does seem to start to drag, things take a sudden turn, and the action begins.

I did enjoy the way this sinks into Ruthie and really lets her personality shine through. Her decisions are understandable, and even mistakes make her that much more 'human'. The other characters, however, didn't carry the same needed depth...because there were too many of them in the given time. This hampered the slight nods at romance or even many of the friendships. Considering these side characters carried obvious, vibrant personalities, it was disappointing to not to have the chance to spend time with them. Three hundred pages just wasn't enough. 

This also hurt some of the explanations surrounding the government, the Giften, and the final battles. Plus, the added recorder aspect opened an amazingly clever door, which simply wasn't explored nearly as much as it could/should have been. It was insightful to read the small excerpts at the beginning of each chapter, but Ruthie didn't really have the chance to weave her side of this in.

Still, this was an interesting read. The brutality and conditions played out well as do the moments of heart. Ruthie's own confusion surrounding her feelings and relationships (family, friends, romance) come across very well and natural. The plot twists were well woven and tension is definitely built, especially in the aspect of her father. 

I do recommend this one for dystopian fans and enjoyed the read quite a bit...I just wish it would have been built out much more. I would have loved diving into an even more fleshed out tale. And that also shows how much I enjoyed getting to know Ruthie and her group at this smaller level.

1 comment:

Natalie Aguirre said...

I haven't read a dystopian in a long time. Too bad there were too many characters.