Plus One by Elizabeth Fama

Plus One

“But after he tells you how they died, I want you to remember how they lived…”

It takes guts to deliberately mutilate your hand while operating a blister-pack sealing machine, but all I had going for me was guts.

Sol Le Coeur is a Smudge—a night dweller in an America rigidly divided between people who wake, live, and work during the hours of darkness and those known as Rays who live and work during daylight. Impulsive, passionate, and brave, Sol deliberately injures herself in order to gain admission to a hospital, where she plans to kidnap her newborn niece—a Ray—in order to bring the baby to visit her dying grandfather. By violating the day-night curfew, Sol is committing a serious crime, and when the kidnap attempt goes awry it starts a chain of events that will put Sol in mortal danger, uncover a government conspiracy to manipulate the Smudge population, and throw her together with D’Arcy Benoît, the Ray medical apprentice who first treats her, then helps her outrun the authorities—and with whom she is fated to fall impossibly and irrevocably in love.

Set in a vivid alternate reality and peopled with complex, deeply human characters on both sides of the day-night divide, Plus One is a brilliantly imagined drama of individual liberty and civil rights—and a compelling, rapid-fire romantic adventure story.

Personal Thoughts:

I have read Plus One more than a month and a half ago with the tour copy provided by PBT, it’s been a while and it’s only now that I finally got the chance to sit down and review the book — a mistake that I just realized few seconds ago. Since I don’t have a copy of the book right now, I’m not sure how I can discuss in detail this book. So, reminder to self, buy my own copy soon because this book is definitely a keeper.

With my poor memory and no notes at all, let me attempt instead to dig the experience of reading Plus One.

For a first time reader of Elizabeth Fama’s works, I remember being impressed with her writing, which means I’ll be reading her other works soon. In this book, Plus One I like how she easily pull those flowing words and weaved them together to form one absorbing novel. The way she built-up this new world in Plus One is slow but evolving. Forming the world from simple to more complex. Her descriptive style carry smoothness and her words are rich that somehow I imagine seeing things in different angle.

“The thing is, when you’re with someone like Poppu – someone who sees straight through your battered facade and loves every bit of you, someone who makes you laugh until you pee your pants, someone who grabs you in a hug exactly when you need it – you don’t crave any kind of approval from strangers. You don’t need to ‘matter’ in the world, because you already matter to the only person who counts.”

The concept of dividing people by day and night is quite well done. It’s not entirely new to me but I like that it carry a ring of reality in it. The possibility of living in a world where people are divided by period of time is easily imaginable. It could be our alternate reality if things from the fast goes differently. I just wish that the novel explain more how things end up this way.

For a dystopian novel, this book is quite light on the political side. Though there are clearly the struggles of the masses & inequality, the story doesn’t focus much on that part until the latter part of the book. Instead, Fama focus on detailing Sol’s plot to get her niece so her grandfather can see the baby before he dies. As much as I enjoy Sol’s plotting and her interaction with D’Archy, I kinda feel that the kidnapping part took so long. Though I understand how it become the focus of the story, having Sol as the narrator and her focus is more personal, I still feel that the story will be more interesting if Sol delved into bigger things than the wish of her dying grandfather.

Sol Le Coeur, the narrator and main character of the story is quite naive. Her impulsiveness sometimes lies on the path of act-now-think-later which is not very wise. But while she is being impulsive and careless in her decisions she is also showing her strength in a way. She is loyal to a fault. Her love for her family is undeniable, add her unending determination, she grew on me as I read. She frustrates me but she also surprise me. Sometimes her impulsiveness results to unexpected turns in the story.

While Sol is impulsive, D’Archy the love interest is the total opposite. He is more in control. He is cautious in handling the situation around him. He thinks and weigh things before doing something.

I’m not sure if there will be a sequel. The ending though hopeful and resolves most things, I still feel like the author should expand more the story. I want to know more about the government, the political sides and other much intriguing things than kidnapping the baby.

Overall, with compelling mystery, easily imaginary world, and determined protagonist, Plus One is a well written and absorbing novel.

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