Monday, December 19, 2011
Book Review: WHEN SHE WOKE by Hillary Jordan
Hannah Payne has had an abortion, and in the USA abortions are illegal. It's considered a form of murder. And as punishment her skin is turned red. All criminals convicted of a crime are put through the process of chroming. Depending on your crime, you get a certain colour. Hannah refuses to name the father of her baby, which adds 3 more years to her sentence. A sentence of 16 years. And the death rates for chromes living in the community is high. Most don't make it to the end of their sentence as they are routinely attacked by vigilantes.
This new world order is wrought with religious fervor. It's as though the religious police have taken over in an Orwellian not-too-distant future.
Hannah's family is religious and she really has no place to go. Eventually she finds herself in a religious half-way house that is full of religious doctrine and shame and guilt therapy. She doesn't last long in there as she slowly begins to question religion and also the existence of God. Before long Hannah is on the run and aided by a secret revolutionary group. I won't give too much away as it's part of the journey, you as the reader, have to discover.
The book is well written, and it has moments of tension and conflict. I hated her brother-in-law with a passion who is a religious zealot who treats women like second class citizens. I found it a bit slow to start, but once Hannah is out in the real world things start to pick up. I found parts of the book to be unrealistic in the sense that Hannah, although she is changing and growing and questioning her entire world, acts out of character. I also wasn't a fan of the new age spiritual angle of the book, but that's just my own bias. But it does make you think about the danger extreme religious thinking can lead to, and how some parts of the world (which is closer to home than you think) are not far off from this kind of new world order.
7 out of 10