27 April 2011

Review: Burn Down The Sky



The Book:

Earth is sun-scorched and the world is riddled by a plague known as the Wiccan virus. A group known as the Hands of God hires roving bands of marauders to hunt down girls on the cusp of womanhood for their own needs.  The horrors the young girls deal with are something no parent wants to face.  When Jessie's camp is attacked and her youngest daughter is taken, this mother will stop at nothing to get her child back.


The Yarn:

In Burn Down The Sky, James Jaros brings us a family struggling to survive. Cities are a wasteland, the population has been decimated by a disease that causes insanity and death. There are some groups that have determined that they are chosen to survive by God, and will continue to ensure their survival by finding girls young enough to not be virus carriers to impregnate and enslave. A raid at Jessie's camp kills almost everyone and the girls, including Ananda, Jessie's younger daughter, are taken to the Hands of God. Jessie, her older daughter Bliss, and others met along the way travel a desolate landscape to rescue the children.

If you are not a fan of seeing children being used and abused, this book won't be for you. There is violence, both physical and sexual, but not explicit enough to discourage the story. There are a few medical references thrown into a section of dialogue that brings light to the creation of the virus and the downfall of mankind, but is a little less like a actual conversation and more like Jaros is trying to fill in the details of how the world went wrong.

I wasn't sure what I would think of this book going in. It isn't part the genres I usually turn to now, plus my own personal issue with using the word "Wicca" to describe a killing virus rubbed me the wrong way. However, once I started reading the action quickly picked up and carried me along, as did the main characters. Jessie and Ananda alternate the lead voices through the book. The perspective of a mother who knew what the world was like before contrasted with the child who never knew a grocery store or school. Added to this was Ananda's older sister Bliss. Caught between teen and adult, Bliss demonstrates the hardness girls have to take on to survive. These three women kept me in this book; the core issue of what a mother will do for her children is one that no parent will question.

Burn Down the Sky will appeal to those who enjoy post-apocalyptic tales, stories of humanity's survival against our own created curse. While the language of science versus fanatical religion is not unique, this fast-paced story may make the reader ponder the extremes of both.

Thank you to HarperCollins for providing the ARC to review.

The Ink:

Title: Burn Down The Sky
Author: James Jaros
Publisher: Harper Voyager
Date: April 2011
Read: Mass Market ARC (Provided by Publisher)