Writing - 10/10
Development - 8/10
Overall - 9/10
Author: Jacqui Castle
Publishing Date: September 2018
Page Count: 300 pages
User Review( votes)
In the first piece of dystopian YA in response to President Trump, The Seclusion tells the story of Patch, a young woman who, in a fascist future United States begins to question her government and eventually re-discovers the truth about America’s free, democratic past.
I love Castle’s writing in this book. The writing is very indicative of what could happen in the future. It’s thought-provoking and echoes a cautionary tale not dissimilar to 1984, The Hunger Games, and Divergent.
While Castle probably doesn’t intend this to be a cautionary tale, it is interesting to detect warning signs. The Seclusion in question is controlled by The Board and is thought to be safe. However, it is also scary, full of fear. There is a real fear of the unfamiliar, fear of “The Wall” and fear of The Seclusion.
One phrase that struck a chord with me really sold the message of The Seclusion
“Foreigners want us dead. America is the only safe haven in the world”
It’s that language that instils fear from all angles, of the unknown and of the known! Castle’s thought-provoking language really captures the shift in the paradigm of how we, or how the characters live and develop.
The story unfolds around the character of Patricia “Patch” Collins. At the beginning of the novel, she’s satisfied with her lot of life. However, she begins to question what goes on beyond The Wall. With her lifelong friend Rexx she goes on a journey and she really grows into an independent woman. It was interesting to see where she was so reluctant at the beginning she really champions the mission as the book progresses. The world Castle builds adds to the fantastic story and while it may have cut off a bit short it definitely lends itself to a series and one I’ll definitely be watching out for.
I enjoyed the characters that Castle created. Patch really goes through a growth and it’ll be interesting to see how she continues to grow if there are any more instalment. On the other hand, I probably would have liked to see more development with some of the other characters, namely Rexx. However, I really enjoyed the chemistry between the two. Their relationship just felt so natural.
This is a highly recommended read! The world Castle creates is eerily prophetic and we get a series start that leaves you gasping for more. The story is really well realised in a dystopian future while also being rooted in the present day.
The only complaint I have at this point is the lack of development with certain characters and possibly the speed at which the story ended. However, this is a brilliant debut novel from Jacqui Castle and I can not wait to read her next work and discover more of the dystopian world she’s created.
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