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Publisher: Henry Holt and Co.
Source: Publisher provided for review
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Orion is a Subpar, expected to mine the tunnels of Outpost Five, near the deadly flash curtain. For generations, her people have chased cirium—the only element that can shield humanity from the curtain’s radioactive particles. She and her caving partner, Dram work the most treacherous tunnel, fighting past flash bats and tunnel gulls, in hopes of mining enough cirium to earn their way into the protected city.Flashfall is a really interesting read. Some of it reminded me of other books, some of it seemed a little implausible, BUT it was definitely action-packed and I read very quickly. There are a few aspects that I think make Flashfall stand out, yet I don't know that it'll stand among the most memorable dystopians, either--though I can hope that I'm completely wrong.
But when newcomers arrive at Outpost Five, Orion uncovers disturbing revelations that make her question everything she thought she knew about life on both sides of the cirium shield. As conditions at the outpost grow increasingly dangerous, it’s up to Orion to forge a way past the flashfall, beyond all boundaries, beyond the world as she knows it.
Orion is the lead ore scout at her outpost, spending day after day mining cirium, giving her all to earn a place of safety for herself and those she loves. I really enjoyed so much of the opening, seeing Orion and Dram's dependence on and love for one another, figuring out the word Moyer created, and just waiting for the other shoe to drop. Of course, once that happens the pace picked up and never let up, but I also thought that was when some of the implausibility came out. A lot of what happens is interesting, brutal, and compelling, yet at other times it was just weird and didn't make the most sense.
Even with that, I couldn't help but love Orion for her steeliness and commitment. Of course I loved her relationship with Dram, and though it's definitely slow to fully develop, it's so worth the wait. Like I said, Flashfall is compelling and it'll make you race through the pages. You don't know how Orion and Dram could get out of the scrapes they get into, but you have to hope for them. And that ending! I hate myself a little bit for reading it so early because, while there's some closure, the ending's really just giving you a tease for what's to come.
So, even though I'm afraid Flashfall might get overlooked, because it seems like dystopians aren't performing very well recently, I hope that it'll get picked up. And even as there are some odd moments that didn't mesh to me, I loved Orion and Dram and rooted hard for their survival and a happy ending for them.
Jenny Moyer grew up in Arizona, where she learned to fly before she could drive. She studied writing at Seattle Pacific University and co-owns Luminary Creative with her filmmaker husband, Jacob. She lives in Des Moines, Iowa, with her three boys and three-pound dog, Emmy. Flashfall is her debut.