In the follow-up to When We Wake (2013), a diverse, skilled and politically committed group of teenagers fights a chillingly sinister government in a future Australia.
The first volume saw Tegan Oglietti, revived from cryonic suspension in the year 2128, expose the Australian government’s secret plot to send a starship into space with cryogenically frozen third-world refugees to perform slave labor. Pragmatic, politically savvy Abdi Taalib, the “thirdie” from Djibouti who became close to Tegan in the previous installment, narrates here. When the story opens, both teens are in the control of government handlers, coerced by physical, emotional and sometimes sexual torture to publicly promote the government’s starship scheme. The villains and their tactics are believable and frightening, and the political and ethical questions raised are satisfyingly complex. Is it ever right to sacrifice human life for political expediency? Are any lives more important than others? This is the best kind of speculative fiction, combining diverse, well-realized characters with thought-provoking dilemmas. Abdi’s strong voice and keen awareness of his own ability to manipulate situations provide a compelling window into a future world.
Suspenseful, well-crafted and visionary. (Science fiction. 12-18)