Friday, 5 June 2015

Book Review: The First Twenty by Jennifer Lavoie

The First Twenty by Jennifer Lavoie
Publication Date: June 9th, 2015
Format: eARC from Netgalley

Humanity was nearly wiped out when a series of global disasters struck, but pockets of survivors have managed to thrive and are starting to rebuild society. Peyton lives with others in what used to be a factory. When her adopted father is murdered by Scavengers, she is determined to bring justice to those who took him away from her. She didn’t count on meeting Nixie.

Nixie is one of the few people born with the ability to dowse for water with her body. In a world where safe water is hard to come by, she’s a valuable tool to her people. When she’s taken by Peyton, they’ll do anything to get her back. As the tension between the groups reaches critical max, Peyton is forced to make a decision: give up the girl she’s learned to love, or risk the lives of those she’s responsible for.

 It's been twenty years since global disaster has struck. Things are still not perfect, with how things were before, but they're better than they were. Peyton lives in a little community in an attempt to rebuild a world that used to be. Things become much more difficult when her adopted father dies at the hands of Scavengers- another group who lives only by taking from others. Because of this she found herself in a position of leadership. Something that she felt she was never going to be prepared for.

Unfortunately for her, her leadership was quickly tested. Scavengers returned to take something of theirs in the storage. They've managed to halt them in their process and take in one of the Scavengers: a young girl named Nixie. At first she was kept as a sort of prisoner but, thanks to the doctor's determination to help others despite where their loyalties, she was allowed to remain in the community until she was well enough to leave. Instead, thanks to Nixie interacting with other people, she found herself intrigued with how things are ran and became involved which led her in an adventure with them and becoming closer to Peyton.

I feel like there wasn't much of a back story added to this. I know that, when there's something this catastrophic going on, not everyone's going to immediately think, 'Oh, maybe we should record this and save it for our future offspring' but... it has only been twenty years. On top of that, I recall some of the side characters randomly mentioning how things were back before. Surely they would also tell stories on what happened from their point of view and how the destruction became to be. It would have helped set the tone a little bit better I think.

I was fairly satisfied with the romance in this book, especially with the fact that it centered around between two girls and it felt realistic to me. Although, admittingly, I still felt somewhat uncomfortably with the fact that Peyton fell in love with what was considered her 'enemy'. It probably would have bothered me considerably if I didn't feel like it was well written. However, due to being able to see the story between Nixie's and Peyton's point of view, I feel like it does work. Had I only seen it in Peyton's point of view I probably would have seen it as a 'forced' relationship and even though I would love to see more stories with a 'lgbt' theme to it... I want it to be a natural progression.

With that being said, though, I wish there was a better way to organize the two different point of views. I like being able to see a story from different perspectives but it gets really confusing when they mesh into the same chapter. Especially so if they both happen to be of the same gender. It took me a couple of chapters before it clicked in my head that these were two different people. Maybe it's just me, though.

Also, with Nixie's ability to dowse water and... well, with [insert spoilers here], I felt like she sort of becomes almost overpowered. I would imagine it would help lessen it so with the aftereffects. I don't want to say too much. You might see what I'm trying to say if you decide to read this book as well.

Overall: it's an interesting read. It probably won't be a thing for everyone but I quite enjoyed this story. It's been left open for a potential sequel although I don't know if the author plans on creating one. It wouldn't be a big deal to me if there wasn't one. Despite everything, I'm satisfied with how it ended.

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