Monday, March 11, 2019

The Rule of One - Ashley & Leslie Saunders

Summary:  Their past is a crime.  Their future is a rebellion.

In their world, telling the truth has become the most dangerous crime of all.  In the near-future United States, a one-child policy is ruthlessly enforced.  Everyone follows the Rule of One.  But Ava Goodwin daughter of the head of the Texas Family Planning Division, has a secret -- one her mother died to keep and her father has helped to hide for her entire life.

She has an identical twin sister, Mira.

For eighteen years Ava and Mira have lived as one, trading places day after day, maintaining an interchangeable existence down to the most telling detail.  But when their charade is exposed, their worst nightmare begins.  Now they must leave behind the father they love and fight for their lives.

Branded as traitors, hunted as fugitives, and pushed to do discover just how far they'll go in order to stay alive Ava and Mira rushed head-long into a terrifying unknown. (Summary from book - Image from amazon.com)

My Review:  I love dystopian fiction.  It's totally my jam.  As such, I snapped this book up in a hurry when I found it at the library.  I love the premise.  Ava and Mira are twin girls born into a society that only allows one child per family. Initially, it bore a strong resemblance to the Netflix show What Happened to Monday as the twins learn to match in more than just appearance to avoid discovery and take turns venturing out into the world.  The book was fairly fast-paced, so it wasn't long before their secret was uncovered and the girls were dodging evil government henchman and finding refuge and allies in unexpected places.  Now wanted fugitives, the twins must disguise themselves and remain unnoticed in a surveillance state that has both advanced facial recognition software and the ability to track their very scent and heat signatures.  In their race to safety, they learn of a rebel faction simmering under the surface of society, waiting for its opportunity to rise again.  Will they flee or join the fight?  Like, I said -- I love the premise.  I just have a problem with the delivery.

The Rule of One had all the fundamental characteristics of a dystopian fiction novel, there just wasn't a whole lot of depth to it.  While the authors gently touched on issues like gun control, climate change, privacy rights, illegal immigration, governmental overreach, and psychological warfare, they didn't seem to "dig in" to any one thing and it felt more like Dystopia Lite.   Perhaps that's okay for a YA audience, but I still wanted something I could sink my teeth into and savor a bit and this just wasn't meal enough to satisfy.  The overall conflict in this book resolved a bit too quickly for my tastes, especially towards the end where certain aspects of the story seemed rather far-fetched (in a Wow.  That one needle sure found that other needle pretty darn fast, considering they were in that big old haystack kind of way).  Again, it was probably not something that would bother your average YA reader, but it left my eyes a-rollin'. 

The Rule of One ended with a little bit of a cliff hanger.  It's sequel, The Rule of Many, doesn't come out until May 2019, and while I believe the premise of the novel could drive me to pick up the next book were it out right now, I'm not sure that my interest will hang around for three whole months.  I probably would read the sequel if I happened upon it at the library, but I doubt I'll go searching for it. 

My Rating:  3 Stars

For the Sensitive Reader:  Some swearing (about 10-12 instances of the SH, D, F, B variety).  There is some brief unwanted groping and innuendo when the girls come across some unsavory characters and some violence.

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