Friday, September 9, 2016

Friday Fiction Fix: "Captives"

The Short:

The Safe Lands, Book 1

By: Jill Williamson

5/5 Stars (And going on the favorites shelf)

What: A village is captured by a more technologically advanced society. What will they do when they are asked to compromise their beliefs to save their captors’ civilization?

Recommended to those who like: Christian, dystopian, futuristic, teen and up

The Long:

This book was incredibly different than what I expected…but I loved it!

A plague has wiped out most of modern civilization. The citizens of Glenrock have rebuilt their society in a simple fashion, living off the land, fueling old ATVs with homemade ethanol, and reading books they find in ruined cities.

The Safe Lands are being slowly consumed by a mutated strain of the plague. Unable to have children, they capture the people of Glenrock and ask them to do the unthinkable to save their foreign, self-indulgent society. Who will exchange their simple lives for glamor? And what could they lose?

I would definitely recommend this book only to mature teens and up. Much of the story centers on what happens when a society indulges in wanton living. Furthermore, the people of Glenrock’s plight is largely over whether they will have children for the Safelanders. These topics were handled tastefully and thoughtfully. 

The worldbuilding was fantastic. For a Christian post-apocalyptic book, it offered a fresh outlook on the role of religion in society. Rather than showing Christianity as outlawed, the two societies have different religions that are juxtaposed in most of their core values. Christians attending secular universities and high schools will likely find the issues and dilemmas raised in this book to be more relevant to them than those in most Christian dystopian books. Many of the topics covered center on the role of families and relationships.

This book was thought-provoking without being even remotely preachy. (Yay!) I believe much of that had to do with the characters. They were flawed. They were tempted to deny their values. And while they might quote Scripture to themselves upon occasion in difficult circumstances, they lived their lives like most of us do—not giving each other trite sermons over anything that happened. Instead, they showed their faith by how they lived and how they made choices in their lives. I loved it. If I could have my faith portrayed this way in more fictional books, I would be elated.

I can hardly wait to read more about these characters in the sequel. I hope they keep quoting The Princess Bride.

The Bottom Line: Highly recommended to mature teens and up who are in for a thought-provoking story about a dystopian future. 

If you could have your faith portrayed to the world by any one fictional book, what book would you choose?

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