Book Review: Half Lives by Sara Grant

Half Lives cover imageIn the before time the worst thing Icie had to worry about was her ex-boyfriend posting their breakup on Facebook. But when her parents put her on a plane with $10,000, a backpack of survival gear, the key to a bunker in a mountain outside of Las Vegas, and a promise to join her as soon as they can, everything changes. As top government officials her parents had advance word of an impending virus with the potential to spread rapidly and kill effectively.

So Icie went into seclusion with three other refugees she picked up along the way. Together they work to ration their food and pass the time in the hope they can wait out the deadly virus and start anew.

Generations later Beckett leads a band of those who descend from the survivors. They live on the mountain and worship a deity called the Great I Am. They never leave the mountain, and they consider it their duty to protect it from any who would try to harm it. They look out at the hulking remains of a once great city and talk about the people who destroyed it long ago. One day when they see a light among the ruins, they know others have come, and they prepare to defend their home against the terrorists they fear.

Half Lives by Sara Grant takes place in the present time and a dystopian future. Tension builds as the narrative switches between the two places of action and readers begin to see parallels between the present and future, in more ways than one. In both places the characters struggle to survive while searching for truth and meaning in their circumstances. In both places they work to create a future where fear is not the ruling emotion.

It’s unusual to see dystopian fiction that shows both an apocalyptic event as well as the future that has been carved after that event. Grant blends the two worlds together in a way that is both frightening and believable as well as totally engrossing. I recommend it for book clubs with readers aged 14 and up.

The publisher provided me with a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

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