Saturday, March 6, 2010

Winter's End by Jean-Claude Mourlevat, reviewed by Freaky



I like books set in dystopian societies, don't ask me why - maybe it makes me feel better about ours, no matter how bad things get! This one has all the classic elements: bad people take over government, general populace lets it happen because they think they will make things better. Bad government puts more and more limits on personal freedoms, everyone is afraid of repercussions if they object, main characters stumble upon underground movement to overthrow bad government. If it's really a spoiler to tell you citizens triumph over bad government in the end, then you haven't read any of the other dystopian novels out there.

I am of two minds about this book. The writing is good, the story line moves along quickly and contains plenty of action. I can see many teenage girls liking this one for several reasons, but for some of those same reasons I (not being a teenage girl) can't give it both thumbs up.

First is the romance angle. It works in the Hunger Games series because it is slow and realistic. It does not work (for me, anyway) in this one, where two girls meet two boys on the road, talk for a few minutes, and the next thing you know, are soul mates for life. Helen and Milos spend maybe two days together before being separated, and they are referring to each other as "my love". Seriously? And at the same time we are supposed to believe they are all mature enough to help lead a rebellion?

Believability was not a strong point in general. The characters are constantly getting out of scrapes by tricking or overpowering the bad guys way too easily. I'm not sure how the government came to power to begin with if everyone that works for them is that inept. I don't think Mourlevat knows very many toddlers, too, if he expects us to believe these kids only have one or two repressed memories of their parents, who they lost when they were two. And, what, these parents all had kids at the same time? If there was any mention of older or younger kids, I missed it.

A good read, but not a must-have. Review copy checked out from our library.

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