Hardcover: 384 pages
Publisher: Pocket (January 5, 2010)
My rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars
Acquired: Received book as part of Pocket Books Blog tour for review purposes
Synopsis from Amazon.com:
Harper Adams was six years old in 2012 when an act of viral terrorism wiped out one-half of the country's population. Out of the ashes rose a new government, the Confederation of the Willing, dedicated to maintaining order at any cost. The populace is controlled via government-sanctioned sex and drugs, a brutal police force known as the Blue Coats, and a device called the slate, a mandatory implant that monitors every word a person speaks. To utter a Red-Listed, forbidden word is to risk physical punishment or even death.
But there are those who resist. Guided by the fabled "Book of Noah," they are determined to shake the people from their apathy and ignorance, and are prepared to start a war in the name of freedom. The newest member of this resistance is Harper -- a woman driven by memories of a daughter lost, a daughter whose very name was erased by the Red List. And she possesses a power that could make her the underground warriors' ultimate weapon -- or the instrument of their destruction.
In the tradition of Margaret Atwood's The Handmaid's Tale, Laura Bynum has written an astonishing debut novel about a chilling, all-too-plausible future in which speech is a weapon and security comes at the highest price of all.
I received Veracity as part of Pocket Books Blog Tours. At first I was a bit unsure about the book because I generally shy away from science fiction, but I really enjoyed this novel. It grabbed me right from the beginning and kept me wanting to read more up until the end. It may have appealed to me more because Harper, the main character, was a woman. I think some of the science fiction I have read in the past has had male main characters and I’ve had a more difficult time getting into them. The book reminded me a bit of The Hunger Games and Catching Fire because the future that is portrayed is so controlled by the government. When I first started the novel the book it reminded me of was The Host by Stephanie Meyer, because of references to the future and a resistance movement.
It is hard to imagine a world without the freedoms that we enjoy today and the arts that we are accustomed to. Starting with the Pandemic in 2012 the government, for the protection of it’s citizens, starts monitoring all people with an electronic slate in their necks that records everything that is said by that person. Once again for the “protection” of all words are made Red Listed on a regular basis which means that to speak them will cause the person to be shocked by their slate and may lead to further punishment. Over the course of more than three decades thousands of words are lost as well as art, music, books and entertainment. There is one TV channel that just airs government news, no music, no books except how to manuals, no paper for writing, no movies. For entertainment there are bars and there are government sanctioned prostitutes. People do not choose their careers, the government places them where they believe they will do best. The police force, The Blue Coats, enforce very harsh and cruel punishments for offenses and there are no judges or juries. Worse still, since it has been this way for more than 30 years and many of the original population were killed off during the Pandemic, most people do not have any idea of what they are really missing.
Harper has special skills, she can see auras and travel without her body. She can see inside people and tell if they are sick, know their emotions from their colors and can sense answers to questions posed to them. She is a Monitor and is charged with watching files of people who use red listed words or get into other types of trouble with the government. She is recruited by the resistance to work with them to take down the current government.
Seeing all these people go through to fight for their freedom brought to mind some of my own questions about our current freedom and how much people in general may be taking it for granted. The book got me thinking and made this alternate reality very realistic and believable. I think Laura Bynum did a great job with this novel and I hope to see more books written by her in the future. I am very glad I had the chance to review this novel because on my own I am not sure that I would have come across this one.
About the author from her website :
Laura Bynum was born in Springfield, Illinois in 1968. Childhood plans to be a writer of novels and screenplays and a director of films are currently underway. Laura completed her Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Communications at the University of Illinois at Springfield and Eastern Illinois University respectively. She’s since done some filmmaking (Ugly Girl Productions) and marketing consulting. In 2006, Laura won the Rupert Hughes Literary Writing Award at the Maui Writer’s Conference. As a result, she was signed with the Writer’s House. Her Literary Agent is Dan Conaway and her Books to Film Agent is Sylvie Rabineau of Rabineau, Wachter, Sanford & Harris. Laura’s first novel, Veracity, is due out January of 2010. In the summer of 2008, while moving from Illinois to Virginia, Laura was diagnosed with breast cancer and has since been successfully treated.
Laura’s favorite books are both by Steinbeck- East of Eden and The Grapes of Wrath. Her favorite song is Solsbury Hill by Peter Gabriel. Her favorite movie is The Quiet Man. She lives with her husband and three daughters in a small Virginia town in the Shenandoah foothills and is currently writing her second novel and first full-length screenplay.