One choice could destroy them all. When eighteen-year-old Levi returned from Denver City with his latest scavenged finds, he never imagined he’d find his village of Glenrock decimated, loved ones killed, and many—including his fiancee, Jem—taken captive. Now alone, Levi is determined to rescue what remains of his people, even if it means entering the Safe Lands, a walled city that seems anything but safe. Omar knows he betrayed his brother by sending him away, but helping the enforcers was necessary. Living off the land and clinging to an outdated religion holds his village back. The Safe Lands has protected people since the plague decimated the world generations ago … and its rulers have promised power and wealth beyond Omar’s dreams. Meanwhile, their brother Mason has been granted a position inside the Safe Lands, and may be able to use his captivity to save not only the people of his village, but also possibly find a cure for the virus that threatens everyone within the Safe Lands’ walls. Will Mason uncover the truth hidden behind the Safe Lands’ facade before it’s too late?
Jill Williamson is a chocolate loving, daydreaming, creator of kingdoms and the award-winning author of several young adult books including the Blood of Kings trilogy, Replication, the Mission League series, and the Safe Lands trilogy. She lives in Oregon with her husband, two children, and a whole lot of deer. She loves working with teenagers and gives writing workshops at libraries, schools, camps, and churches. Visit her online at http://www.jillwilliamson.com, where adventure comes to life.
Jill Williamson readily admits that she writes “weird books for teens”. Well, Captives is definitely weird and definitely a book that will appeal to teen readers. A dystopian look at a future America post-pandemic, the book has a lot going for it — interesting characters, fascinating setting, and a disturbing plot that feels both improbable and very possible all at once. Fast-paced with vivid imagery, I would recommend Captives to older teens (high school or older). The novel is never graphic, yet reproduction, surrogacy and promiscuity are part of the story and may be too mature for a younger audience.
The Safe Lands are anything but safe, but the veneer of the nation covers the evil beneath the surface. Those that live in the shadow of its walls have much to fear — the thin plague that infects all of Safe Lands’ citizens and the more insidious allure of a life of pleasure and the overwhelming control of the governing council. Omar is fascinated by the glitter and is determined to help his clan relocate to Safe Lands and start enjoying an easy life. But the encounter between his village and the enforcers takes a deadly turn and the once free people of Glenrock are now captives in a highly gilded cage. Some of those kidnapped are quick to assimilate into the new surroundings, while others are determined to escape before physical or spiritual infection takes root.
Williamson brings to life a dying society built on pleasure — a society where all is well as long as one complies. Beauty is lauded over all else, yet the slow-dying public must cover up who they are with wigs, paint, makeup and SimTags (a kind of virtual tattoo) in order to disguise the plague that racks their bodies. A verse from Daniel is used as an introduction to the book, and the parallels of ancient Babylon and this new world are marked. There are a lot of things to discuss with this book — technology, morality, free will, and freedom — and it would serve as a great tool for a small group. Captives is also book 1 in a series, so there is a great deal to speculate about before the next book is published.
So, if your teen enjoys weird and wants a book that will cause an examination of current trends in our own society, then get Captives for him or her.
(Thanks to CSFF and Zondervan for my copy of this book. All opinions expressed are mine alone.)
To purchase a copy of Captives, click on the image below.
To read the reviews of the other CSFF participants, click on the links below.
Thomas Fletcher Booher
Morgan L. Busse
Emma or Audrey Engel
Meagan @ Blooming with Books
Rebecca LuElla Miller
Asha Marie Pena