Thursday, December 26, 2013

The compound by S.A.Bodeen

Eli and his family have spent the past six years living in the compound - an immense underground facility built by his eccentric and wealthy father to protect the family in the event of a nuclear attack on America.  When Eli was nine that nightmare was realised and Eli, his two sisters, his mother, and his father all descended underground - leaving his twin brother, his grandmother, and their pets behind.  Life underground has set routines - they watch movies, they listen to music, they exercise in the gym, they play music together on their various instruments, and they live day-by-day under the watchful eye of their father and husband.

After six years underground some of the plans Eli's father made are not quite going to plan - the cows and chickens that were supposed to give them protein have all died, someone packed the wrong bulbs for the hydroponics and Eli has to baby each bulb along, and little by little their food supplies are succumbing to age and becoming past their best by date.  But there is something else that is a little rotten in the compound, something that Eli slowly comes to realise as his dad becomes more and more controlling, and as they edge closer and closer to making decisions that they can never turn back from.  As Eli slowly learns his fathers secret, he muse also decide what steps he will take for himself, and for his family.

The compound is one of those stories that seems to start as one thing and ends as something completely different, but the change is so subtle and twisted that you can't hlp but wonder if the wool has been pulled over your eyes at the beginning or in the middle, or in the end.  Eli and his family as strong individual characters which are blended together to form a micro society with all the ups and downs you would expect from living in such an enclosed environment, and there are little factions that form over different things - and over everything is the father who controls every aspect of their lives and who everyone is afraid of on some level (although that is not always covertly expressed in the book, more something you pick up on).

The compound was a compulsive read for me, and I am really glad I picked it up on a public holiday so I could read it in one go with little to no interruptions.  I am looking forward to reading the sequel, The fallout, to see if the author is able to keep up the tension and pace of the first novel.  This is a psychological thriller as well as a slightly dystopian novel and it should appeal to readers who enjoy a wide range of genre, and it is also one of those books that will appeal to teen boys as well as teen girls - and 'tweens should have no trouble with the content either.

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Reviewed by Brilla

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