Sunday, 21 June 2015

LBOY2015 Shortlist Review #5: 'Riot' by Sarah Mussi

'Riot' by Sarah Mussi
Review by Christopher Moore


England is struggling under a recession that has shown no sign of abating. Years of cuts has devastated Britain: banks are going under, businesses closing, prices soaring, unemployment rising, prisons overflowing. The authorities cannot cope. And the population has maxed out.

The police are snowed under. Something has to give. Drastic measures need taking.

The solution: forced sterilisation of all school leavers without secure further education plans or guaranteed employment.

The country is aghast. Families are distraught, teenagers are in revolt, but the politicians are unshakeable: The population explosion must be curbed. No more free housing for single parents, no more child benefit, no more free school meals, no more children in need. Less means more.

But it is all so blatantly unfair - the Teen Haves will procreate, the Teen Havenots won't.

It's time for the young to take to the streets. It's time for them to RIOT:



The novel is more plot- than character-driven but that's fine and the sterilisation of the school leavers from poorer classes is so strong that it actually ensnares and intrigues the reader from the first gruesome pages. The story reads like a sucker-punch to the face. It's bold with a fast-paced narrative and plenty of action.

Mussi flicks emotional switches at the right times though, allowing us to identify with her characters even though her characters read, for me anyway, as physical, ideological representations in this dystopian Britain. That's not to say they're bad characters and in fact, I think it mostly works for this kind of story.

Tia is an interesting enough narrator though I felt at times, there was some repetition with her language; in particular the "flipping" curse word stripped her of some of her credibility as a teen - and in general, I felt like she could have been pushed even further (to the extent that Day was in Marie Lu's Legend trilogy). She also lapses into Americanisms which conflicts with the London setting. The only other thing that irked me was that the antagonist read a bit cartoony when I wanted more depth to match the gravity and severity of the law that's being implemented.

Overall, it's a fast-paced story with a good backstory and setting that will please fans of Sophie Kenzie and Marie Lu.

 Rating: 4/5 Stars  ★ ★ ★ ★ 

Christopher Moore:

Christopher is a co-founder of the YAfictionados blog and is best known as the YAblooker. He is a twenty-four year old book blogger who has previously worked in marketing and consumer insight for various publishing houses and writes in his spare time. He loves to travel and will read anything YA-related and some general fiction and fantasy.

Follow Christopher on Twitter: @YAblooker

Find Christopher on Goodreads: Christopher Moore

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