Saturday, September 24, 2011

Adoration of The Fox Inheritance

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.

21 comments:

Yvonne Osborne said...

Thanks for the heads-up. I don't read much sci-fi but this is certainly an interesting and timely subject.

Is it really Banned Books Week again?? Seems like we just had one. Boy time flies...but books are still being banned.

Thanks, Tricia!

Bish Denham said...

I read the first book and enjoyed it (if enjoyed is the right word and it left me unsettled in a good way.) So, I definitely want to read the second book.

Tricia J. O'Brien said...

Yvonne: This is light sci-fi, not heavy on the technicalities of how things work, but I believed in the possibility of it. It's more about the personal effect, which is what gives a book such resonance, I think.

Bish: It is unsettling but so thought-provoking. I think you'll really like the second one.

storyqueen said...

I've often asked questions similar to Pearson's. Would love to see how she wove a novel around them.

A glowing review from you means a lot.

Shelley

Corey Schwartz said...

I just finished the first one and though it was beautifully written (and certainly full of substance) it was just too creepy for me! Not sure I could do it again!

Tricia J. O'Brien said...

Shelley: It is such a gut-wrenching thing for a parent to face. I love what Pearson did with it--going somewhere way out of our current world but still easy to imagine as possible.

Corey: It's sure not a comfortable tale, but I love that the characters grow into themselves, learn to cope and become at home in their skins. There's a lot of forgiveness and loyalty and love in the adjustment.

Donna said...

Sounds eerie and good. I'll put it on my list.

Reminds me of a couple of older light SciFi books in which parents make similar decisions. One is Margaret Peterson Haddix's DOUBLE IDENTITY about a 13-year-old who finds out she isn't exactly who she thought she was. (Telling any more would ruin the story if you haven't read it.)And the adult SciFi BEGGARS IN SPAIN by Nancy Kress about humans who don't need sleep. (Their parents pay for this genetic alteration during pregnancy.) Imagine what a person could learn and accomplish without "wasting" those eight hours every night.

The Golden Eagle said...

It sounds like an interesting story! Thank you for the review--I haven't read the first in the series yet, so I'll have to find that.

(And with regards to Donna's comment, I just finished reading Beggars In Spain. It's a fascinating short novel.)

Natalie said...

I totally need to read this! I thought the first one was brilliant.

Suzanne Casamento said...

Sounds riveting. The whole how far will a parent go to save their child concept. I can see how things could go awry...

Tricia J. O'Brien said...

Donna: Those sound like great reads. I'll add them to my list. I can't imagine never sleeping. It seems like you might lose some magic, some mystery that comes with dreaming.

GoldenEagle: Hope you like it, and now I will, for sure, have to read Beggars.

Natalie: I did, too! I couldn't wait to read this one, and it was worth it.

Suzanne: Yes, not only ethical problems, but they ran into legal ones, as well.

Stephanie Thornton said...

I'm on a Star Trek kick and that usually winds up leaving me craving some good sci-fi. I'll keep this one in mind!

LynNerd said...

I love fantasy/sci-fi/dystopian. I haven't read the first book yet, but these sound really good to me. Remember that woman in the news maybe ten years ago who had a baby in hopes that her newborn would be a perfect match for her other daughter (I believe a young teen) so she could receive bone marrow (I think that's what it was) to save her daughter's life? She got a lot of flack for doing that. I wonder what ever came of it, whether the teen's life was saved or what happened.

MG Higgins said...

The Adoration of Jenna Fox was wonderful, and I didn't realize she'd written a sequel. It's now on my "must get" list.

Tricia J. O'Brien said...

Stephanie: These are what I'd call soft sci-fi, not the hardcore kind with all the technology described, but I found this world believable and the stories riveting.

Lynn: Yes, I do remember that woman and her children. These books raise those kinds of questions, and do it within fast-paced storytelling. I think you'll enjoy them.

Melissa: Oh, oh, yes, yes. Book two is amazing, as well.

Lydia Kang said...

I liked the first book a lot. I don't read a ton of sequels but I will probably read this one. Thanks!

Elle Strauss said...

I loved the first book and I'm glad to hear the second one is just as good. Can't wait to read it!

Christina Lee said...

Have I been living under a rock that I didn't realize there was a sequel?!? Thank you for this review!

Tricia J. O'Brien said...

Lydia: I have a feeling this one might be up your alley. ;)

Elle: I'm so happy when I like the second book in a series. Awe and relief, I think.

Christina: Come out, come out and see what's she done!

Sarah Laurence said...

I loved the first book and have been waiting for the sequel. Thanks for reminding me that it's out and for not spoiling the ending. I shall order a copy - probably a hard copy instead of ebook as this sounds like a keeper.

Tricia J. O'Brien said...

Sarah: If you loved the first, I think you'll love this, too. I hope so.