Stack Overflow: Our World, Different

Reading Time: 3 minutes

I particularly enjoy fiction that asks questions like, “What if?” Apocalypse fiction, such as that in the contemporary young adult market or in the science fiction market after World War II, does just that. What if our world were different? What if we take these events happening in the world to an extreme conclusion? What if we aren’t alone in the universe/multiverse? Here are a few books from my stack that explore these questions.

Taken and Frozen by Erin Bowman

First up are the first two books in the Taken series, Taken and Frozen, by Erin Bowman.

This series follows a young man named Gray Weathersby who lives in Claysoot. In Claysoot, young men get Heisted when they turn eighteen. And it’s time for Gray’s older brother, Blaine, to get Heisted.

For Gray, this Heist sets him on a path of discovery and adventure. The reveals are one after another, as the curtain is drawn back from Claysoot to the world at large. We see, within the first part of Taken, that climate change has taken its toll on North America and some of the resulting effects this has on the world.

I highly recommend this series to both kids (it’s rated Grade 8 and up) and adults. It is very enjoyable, and the third book, Forged, is due out on April 14th.

adsomNext on my stack is a book that’s proven to be extremely popular. A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab is the tale of parallel worlds, all of which are connected by one thing: the city of London. Our world is Grey London, where magic has ceased to exist. Next door is Red London, where magic is strong. Then comes White London, where magic fights back. And lastly, Black London, thought to be cut off from the other Londons.

The story revolves around Kell–one of two travelers, people with the magic to travel between the parallel Londons–and Delilah Bard, a cutpurse with aspirations to more. Kell is in the dangerous, and illegal, business of smuggling between the worlds. During one of these operations, something goes wrong, and he’s rescued by none other than Lila. The two must keep each other alive, figure out how to keep their Londons intact, and achieve their goals.

This book instantly became one of my must-read-and-re-read books. Schwab expertly baits the suspense hook: as she answers one question, she dangles another. There’s always mystery cloaking the characters. Even though we get to know them, feel for them, cry with them, rage with them, there’s always that one more thing we don’t know about them.

I’d recommend this book to teens (around 16 or older) and adults. This is definitely an adult book, though the themes aren’t too graphic for mature teens.

murdercomplexLast on my stack for this week is The Murder Complex by Lindsay Cummings. This book follows the story of Meadow, a young woman trained to be a survivalist, and Zephyr, a young man genetically engineered to murder. Like the Taken series above, this is a post-apocalyptic book. We learn from Meadow and Zephyr that the place they live is thought to be the last refuge of humanity in the world after a plague wipes out the rest of the population.

As the story progresses, we learn, though, that this may not be true and the people who run the place in which Meadow and Zephyr live may not be keeping people safe. They may, in fact, be murdering the very people they are meant to protect. Both Meadow and Zephyr have secrets that even they aren’t aware of, which make for nice plot twists.

Overall, I enjoyed this book. I’d definitely recommend it to anyone looking for a post-apocalyptic read. The second book in the series, The Death Code, is due out this coming May.

That’s all for now. Happy reading!

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