Friday, August 12, 2011

Review: Days Like This

Author: Alison Stewart
Release Date: Already out!
Publisher: Penguin Australia
Add it: Goodreads
She has to escape.
But who else is out there?
And can anyone survive days like this?

I want to go back to the days when life made sense. The days before our parents became strange; before the warming ate away at all the living things in the world; before The Committee and their Blacktroopers. Before the Wall.

Lily is a prisoner in her own home. Forced to stay inside by The Committee and guarded by their increasingly distant parents, Lily and her brother Daniel are beginning to ask why. Then, when Daniel disappears just before his seventeenth birthday, Lily knows she is next.
Thanks to the increasingly harsh effects the Warming has had on the environment, 12 years ago a Wall was built around Sydney Harbour to protect those living in privileged areas. When food and water is becoming scarce, it seems only the rich are entitled to a chance at survival. Those outside the Wall were left to defend themselves, while those within the Wall began a supposedly perfect life...

Twins Lily and Daniel, along with younger sister Alice, have been prisoners inside their own home for the last three years. They're not allowed outside or to converse with any of their neighbours, and all their schooling is done on a computer screen. Their only visitors include the slimy Max (or Maximilian as he likes to be called) and the terrifying Blacktroopers who come once every week to ensure they each take their pills. Pills said to ward off disease, but is that really what they do? Even worse, it seems everyday their parents are growing more and more distant. Hugs, kisses, signs of affection have become a thing of the past for Lily and Daniel - their once warm, loving parents have become self-absorbed, caring more about themselves and what they look like than their own children. They're slightly more favourable toward Alice, but the clear lack of love is disturbing.

One morning, Lily wakes to find Daniel gone. Gone from the house they're never allowed to leave. Her parents won't tell her where he is or who's taken him, they offer no explanation or comfort. Not only is Lily frantic with worry over her twin brother, but she has a growing sense of unease that she's about to disappear next. Can she escape before she's taken? Can she find Daniel.... alive? Can she save both her brother and her sister before they're both swallowed up in the sick and horrific ways of The Committee?

Lily's devotion to her siblings really shines through prominently. She's finds refuge beyond the Wall, but all that's on her mind while she's there is going back to rescue Daniel and Alice. She'd never be able to live with herself if she gave up and left them behind. It was nice to see such strong family ties, especially when any such bond was lacking from their parents. Lily's incredibly stubborn and persistent, she won't take no for an answer. She's got a good heart though, not only for her siblings but for everyone around her and I think that really helps to fuel the bravery she demonstrates throughout the novel. Even if that does lead her to stupid decisions sometimes, you've still got to admire her character!

There is a small amount of romance, although not really evident until near the end of the novel, but that's not at all an issue because the main goal throughout the book is to escape, to rescue and to survive these dark and trying times.

Days Like This highlights some of the problems we already see in today's society in quite a shocking way. The Wall began as a divide between the rich and poor, only allowing those with money and status to thrive in a dying world. And it soon morphed into a twisted community where vanity is everything - the fear of growing old and the thirst for power will drive people to sickening acts to achieve what they want. No matter the cost. No matter the lives lost. With the influx of dystopian novels we see set in the US, it's refreshing to read something close to home. If not a little unsettling!

4/5 Golden Apples

10 comments:

  1. I've never heard of this one before, but that might be because I'm in the US. It sounds interesting though. Dystopian-esque tales seem to always grab my attention! Glad you enjoyed it!

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  2. Glad you enjoyed it Brodie! Still yet to write my review...like always. Bt what a strange way to end it. I wish I had never read the epilogue.

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  3. I'm glad that you enjoyed the book Brodie! It was pretty cool. Great review as always! :)

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  4. Hadn't heard of this before your review, but I like the sound of it! I'm intrigued by these pills that are supposedly to ward off disease, and I like the fact there's a good dynamic between the siblings. Great review! :)

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  5. Woah, this sounds intense! Is it only being published in Australia?

    I love close sibling relationships in books. Sounds good :) Plus, the pills and just the world in general sound so creepy (which, you know, I like). Awesome review!

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  6. This sounds like one I definitely want to read! Lily sounds like a great character, and the premise grabbed me right away. I love the title and cover, too. Great review!

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  7. Sonia: I'm pretty sure it's only being published in Australia. Let's hope for an international release at some point!

    Thanks for the comments, everyone! :)

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  8. Sounds interesting. It is sad that it is only published in Australia.

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  9. Thanks for that great review, Brodie. It's much appreciated!:) For your readers who might be interested in getting hold of the book outside Australia, it may be picked up eventually (I hope) but in the meantime, Penguin also has it as an ebook at Kobo: http://kobobooks.com/search/search.html?q=days%20like%20this%20by%20alison%20stewart&

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  10. I remember you did a WoW on this a while back and I was REALLY excited for it because it's set in Australia and you live there! See how much I love you Brodie?

    Well, I'm glad you enjoyed it! It seems to be a book about family relationships and the like, which I love reading about. Plus, the whole pill thing is weird and creepy, like Sonia said!

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