I’ve read fiction with pretty decent mysteries, characters and adventures that somehow left me feeling like I ate ice cream for dinner and hadn’t satisfied my hunger. I think what’s missing is substance, something thought-provoking enough to stick long after the book is closed on its final page. But substance is what I get in addition to a great page-turning read from Mary E. Pearson’s THE FOX INHERITANCE, the thrilling and fulfilling sequel to THE ADORATION OF JENNA FOX.
These two books raise questions about the ethics of keeping humans alive with non-human parts. How much “human” is needed to be human? Is just a mind and its memory enough? How far is it ethical to go in saving someone?
In the first book, Jenna is brought back from the brink of death but at the cost of great confusion for her. Something is being kept from her, and as she slowly unravels the mystery, her horror grows. The second book jumps ahead 260 years to a future where, Locke, the protagonist, is constantly faced with uncertainty about what he is and why his old friend, Jenna, abandoned him.
Both characters face a crisis of identity, a questioning of values and an awakening.
I hate spoilers so I don’t want to give away much about these two storylines if you haven’t read the books. Please read them if you like fantasy/sci-fi/dystopian or even if you just like stories with emotional payoff. There’s a lot of that here.
In past interviews, Pearson has said Jenna’s story grew from thoughts that raced through her mind as she faced one of her daughter’s cancer treatment. She began to wonder about what medical advances would come in the future and how far a parent would go to save their child.
In the first book, Pearson shows us that superglue between parent to child that can make some people step over ethical lines into unknown territory. In the second book, she shows how greed can turn those breached boundaries into something really ugly.
I was fascinated by the world-building, the ethical conundrum and the powerful emotional growth of the characters. Five stars from me.
And don't forget that it's Banned Book Week and time to support authors who come under attack for tackling controversial topics.