Reviewed by: Fredlet
Approximate word count: 55-60,000 words
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A former high school math teacher, S.L. Baum now works as a substitute elementary school teacher, chauffer for her kids, and novelist. She lives with her family in the Southwestern United States. Her The Immortal Ones series has four books, thus far. This book is the beginning of a new series.
“Bluebell has spent the last twelve years of her life at Training Tech, the government-run boarding school all children are required to attend. Now that she's seventeen she is fully prepared for Incorporation; a time when females and males are allowed to mingle again, for the first time since they were toddlers. It is also the day she must endure Citizen Branding - the mandatory searing of a mark into the flesh of the left wrist of all new Citizens. O for fertile, X for infertile. The fate of every Citizen, male or female, is determined by the results.”
I was immediately drawn into Bluebell’s world, curious about Training Tech and Incorporation Day, and wondering about the cause of the dreams she has “to run… to flee… to hide”. It seems strange to be separated, with no contact, from the opposite sex during Year Five to Year Seventeen, and only seeing your parents on Visitation Days. In this future place of Concord, The Council’s reasons for control over regulating human beings, are eerily similar to many of the social concerns faced in our society today. As I am doctor/needle phobic, Ms. Baum’s description of the required Citizen Branding made me squirm and take a break from reading. Learning about this process—and the Brand unveiling’s meaning— makes the cover picture and book title very fitting.
Ms. Baum has created an intriguing new world with characters displaying distinct personalities making them instantly identifiable and realistic. As Bluebell and her friends discover their career paths and life choices, many questions and suspicions are set in motion…some surprising and others making me feel uncomfortable with the rules and controls in Concord.
This is the first book in a new serial, which sets you up wanting more. I found myself thinking about the events to come and characters’ futures long after finishing the book. I eagerly await the next edition…Concur with Concord!
Review is based on a beta (pre-release) version and I’m unable to judge the final product in this area.
Rating: ***** Five Stars