Thursday, January 24, 2013

When we wake by Karen Healey

Tegan Oglietti was sixteen years old on the day she died, and just over one hundred years later she is revived from cryogenic stasis to find she is living in a very different world.  The Australia she knew is a distant memory  - the food, the people, the technology, and the music are all different - the only thing that is the same is Tegan.  She has woken to a world where the military that paid for her care and revival essentially own her, she can ask for what she wants, but ultimately Colonel Dawson and his team have the right to tell her what to do and when.  In some ways this is an advantage, Tegan has no clue about her new world, the technology is strange and scary - she can't even recognise some of the things she sees for what they are (I mean who knew a computer could become so small and un-computer like). 

Australia has also become closed and unfriendly, no one can become an Australian citizen or resident, the only way to be Australian is to be born there to Australian parents.  Tegan quickly becomes a source of media interest, and she has the dubious pleasure of being the target of groups that consider her to be without a soul (because she died and therefore no longer has a soul because her soul is with God), and another group that says Tegan is not an Australian because she had already died.  It is a tense and confusing time, made more confusing because things are not what they seem.  People are keeping secrets from Tegan, but who and what are they hiding?

Dystopian novels still seem to be really popular at the moment, and while when we wake is not your typical post apocalyptic dystopian novel, it is somewhat more poignant because you get to experience the world that was and the world that is through the same pair of eyes.  Tegan's story is not a smooth transition from start to finish, there is a little bit of jumping around in the story that took a little getting used to, but by the end I didn't notice the transitions from one view to the other.  This was an enjoyable read, one that was absorbing and had plenty of ideas bouncing around in my head - like how do you control population growth if you are seen as a land of plenty, are people really dreaming if they think that in the world of the future everyone will be able to live clean and green, and how far should a government go to protect just their people and their land when everything on the planet is connected? 

This story had a lot of different levels and I enjoyed the story as much as the message - the writing was strong, the characters were interesting and well developed, and I liked some of the things that were so normal that we still consider different or wrong.  A great read, and while it feels like there might be potential for a sequel (or at least another book set in the same time and place, but from a different persons perspective).

If you like this book then try:
  • Arrival by Chris Morphew
  • The interrogation of Ashala Wolf by Ambelin Kwaymullina
  • Beta by Rachel Cohn
  • Origin by Jessica Khoury
  • The line by Teri Hall
  • The Selection by Kiera Cass
  • Revived by Cat Patrick
  • Article 5 by Kristen Simmons
  • Eve by Anna Carey

Reviewed by Brilla

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