Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Book Review- Alis

Alis by Naomi Rich
Reviewed by Suzanne Macaulay, Spring City

When 14-year-old Alis’ parents arrange for her to marry 40-year-old Minister Galin, Alis decides she must run away. She will not be forced into a marriage, especially with a man almost three times her age! Alis resolves to find her way to the city where her brother, Joel, who ran away seven years ago, will protect her.

An opportunity for escape presents itself when Alis accompanies a sickly woman from Alis’ Community of Freeborne to Two Rivers, another Community of the Book. Ruled by unforgiving, merciless Reformers, Alis soon finds that life in Two Rivers is no better than life in Freeborne. Her desire to find her brother in the city intensifies.

Through the help of a boy named Luke, Alis eventually finds her way to the city where life is brutal. The streets are increasingly violent, and residents must beg and steal for morsels of food. Unable to deal with the harsh conditions, Alis resigns to return to Freeborne and face her fate as Minister Galin’s wife. However, her homecoming ignites a tragic chain of events, and Alis finds herself fighting to save her own life.

Naomi Rich’s Alis is a quick read. Although it is set in an “unspecified past,” clear parallels between life in the Communities and Colonial America can be drawn. There is plenty of suspense to keep readers engaged. However, there are many unresolved issues at the end of Alis, and although this probably sets the stage for a sequel, it makes this book feel incomplete. Recommended for teens looking for something heavy but not quite as dark as The Hunger Games.

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