The Balance by Michael Selden

The Balance

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From the author of The Boy Who Ran (2013) comes this YA adventure set in a post-apocalyptic theocracy.

Seventeen-year-old Phoebe Lambert and her adoptive father, Daniel, live in New Bright Sea Harbor. Their agrarian lives are run by the Council of God, a religious group that once shared power with the secular Order, using an agreement called The Balance to maintain society after a meteorite destroyed civilization. Then the Council learned of the Order’s genetic experiments (known as the Future Man project) to create superpowered individuals who didn’t need God. The Purge destroyed most of the Order, forcing the remnants into hiding. Phoebe, however, only knows that she can hear people’s thoughts and sometimes drift deeper into their senses. After a powerful dream in which she’s chased off a cliff by a mob, she realizes just how dark her future seems. Then she befriends Caleb, a classmate whose outgoing nature draws the shy girl into a bond she sorely needs. Though reluctant to explain her secret, Phoebe learns that Caleb’s father, a doctor, resents the Council for limiting medical technology that could save lives. But annoyance with the Council must be hidden due to fear of reprisal by the brutal Inquisition. Can Phoebe continue to live in secret or will her gift lead to persecution? Author Selden uses parallel narratives to show that some of the Order remains and that increasingly powerful Phoebe is essential to regaining The Balance. He paints her world in swift, dismal strokes: “The future had taken a back seat and become a kind of mythological concept.” Later, a character who can see future timelines learns that Phoebe’s chances against the Council are shrinking; the conclusion—“When choice disappeared completely, it meant death”—is intriguing commentary on tyranny, religious or otherwise. Elsewhere, Selden writes that “Advances in science...democratized destruction,” reminding readers that religion and technology are both tools and that humans choose to be good or evil. The clever framing sequence points directly toward a second volume.

Start of a probing sci-fi series that engages audiences of all ages. 

Pub Date: May 4th, 2015
ISBN: 978-1-940640-04-4
Page count: 350pp
Publisher: Woodland Park Press LLC
Program: Kirkus Indie
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