Book cover for Remake, by Ilima Todd

Remake, by Ilima Todd  (YA science fiction)

“A World Where Freedom Isn’t a Choice

“Nine is the ninth female born in her batch of ten females and ten males. By design, her life in Freedom Province is without complications or consequences. However, such freedom comes with a price. the Prime Maker is determined to keep that price a secret from the new batches of citizens that are born, nurtured, and raised androgynously.

“But Nine isn’t like every other batcher. She harbors indecision and worries about her upcoming Remake Day—her seventeenth birthday, the age when batchers fly to the Remake facility and have the freedom to choose who and what they’ll be.

“When Nine discovers the truth about life outside of Freedom Province, including the secret plan of the Prime Maker, she is pulled between two worlds and two lives. Her decisions will test her courage, her heart, and her beliefs. Who can she trust? Who does she love? And most importantly, who will she decide to be?”

The description of the novel Remake surprised me when I read it in the Deseret Book catalogue in the fall of 2014. This book, a dystopia that Deseret Book published under its Shadow Mountain imprint, was quite a bit different from anything I had ever seen the company publish before—in a good way. I like dystopian fiction and was so intrigued by the fact that Deseret Book would publish something like Remake that I downloaded the book and read it on a trip to the beach at the end of 2014.

The thing that makes Remake different from most dystopian stories is that it shows a world where a viable alternative to the dystopian society described exists alongside it. In this case, the culture that contrasts with the dystopia is a Rebel society that nurtures normal family life with all of its squabbles, nurturing bonds, imperfections, and beauties. The contrast between the two cultures is so extreme, in fact, that as I read the novel, the picture of family life it displays felt like a vision of Zion rather than a mere glimpse. As stark as the novel is in some ways, I came away from it with a strong feeling of peace and hope that I rarely feel after reading dystopian stories.

After I finished the book, I wanted my sixteen-year-old daughter to read it. She found the story premise interesting, but ironically, this modern girl prefers reading traditional print books over ebooks, unlike her middle-aged mom. For that reason, I purchased a second copy of the book and gave it to her. For a person who doesn’t buy a lot of new books, that was quite a coup on the part of Ilima Todd and Deseret Book!

I wish I could report that I had a fascinating discussion about the book with my daughter and could pass her scintillating comments about the book on to you, but I didn’t and I can’t. In the end, she liked the book but didn’t love it and didn’t feel inclined to talk about it.  I asked her if she would be interested in reading the sequel. She said she didn’t know. My guess is that she will read it. Maybe I’ll read the copy she buys next time around!

I received another surprise a few months ago when I discovered that Fireweed by Terry Montague had been re-issued in the fall of 2015. This novel was originally published by Covenant Communications back in 1992 and is one of my favorite Latter-day Saint novels of all time. I published a post last year about how it gave me a glimpse of Zion, available here.  When I wrote the post, I had no idea it would be re-issued and, of course, suggested looking for a used copy. The novel is now readily available in both print and ebook and definitely worth a read. I hope that Fireweed, as well as Remake, will be successful. The world needs books like these!

Here is the new description of Fireweed with its cover:

Book cover for Fireweed, by Terry Montague

“Lisel Span has dreamed only of wonderful things in her future. Living with her father, sister, and brother in a cramped apartment in Berlin, the small family shares what seems to be an unbreakable spirit of love and security. However, with the rise of the Nazi party and approaching dark clouds of war, any kind of future grows increasingly uncertain. Knowing little of hate and destruction, Lisel is ill prepared as the storms of battle erupt in full fury and loved ones are taken from her as her beautiful city is reduced to rubble.

“With fear and despair rising within, it is through her quiet, compassionate father that Lisel discovers faith and hope. Now, in a desperate journey to find her sister, Lisel and her neighbor flee Berlin and the advancing Russians for Frankfurt, a city under the protection of the Allies. But their flight to safety is filled with pain, hunger, and terror. However, with spiritual lessons and blessings from her father, the support of departed loved ones, and her tried but undying faith in a loving Heavenly Father, perhaps Lisel can emerge like the fireweed—rising strong and beautiful from scorched ground—transforming bitterness and despair into a charity that never faileth.”

The featured image came from Pixabay.