Do you know how hard it has been to find an enjoyable dystopian novel? I’ve DNFed or discarded six or so dystopian books in a row for multiple reasons, some of which you many have seen me slander in my reviews.
Today we’re changing things up. This is a dystopian novel I am now praising.
After having her memory wiped by the British government, Kyla has to settle into life with her new family, in her new school and with new friends who have been Slated just like her. For most this is a pleasant journey of learning about themselves and self discovery, but not for Kyla. She’s been getting nightmares of what she soon discovers is her past – before her memory was wiped. And she’s noticed things that others haven’t – people who get taken away and why, ways that her body and mind work differently, motivations of government terrorists. And she fears she was once one of them.
This dystopia felt very contemporary at the same time and I loved the world and messages that made. It felt perhaps thirty years ahead of life today, opening the possibility of our very own societies being dystopian to foreign eyes. I love worlds like that. Combined with the contemporary view of relationships, fitting in while not fitting in and a life that’s a distorted reflection of our own, this made the world of Slated feel more real than ever.
With this being our first time in this world, I liked how personal and small the plot was this instance. This made for a very easy plot to follow, clear stakes and goals, and a main character who felt very grounded in the world. Individuals being at stake rather than an entire population was a great trajectory for this first novel rather than straight away going into rebellion like in other dystopias I’ve read.
Kyla’s character shone like a supernova. For being a literal blank slate character she had so much personality and depth and continued to do so in the process of finding herself. I kid you not, she had more personality than many other YA protagonists who didn’t have their personalities completely wiped from them. We learn so much about how Kyla’s brain is wired and how that relates to the way she is made to think. I love how in depth we can see her brain ticking.
The other characters were great too. They were very easy to identify in a room based on mannerisms and body language, easy to spot in dialogue based on speech and each of them different breeds in subtle ways. What more was how genuine these relationships and connections felt between Kyla’s closets friends and the revelations she learns about each of them. This felt believable, giving purity to the darker edges of a dystopian world.
A world which I look forward to diving back into at that.
Slated gets a score of 4.5/5. Reality through a distorted mirror is something we all should learn from.
Yours in writing