What happens when society wants you banged up in prison for a crime your parents committed?
That’s the situation in which Ant finds herself – together with her little brother Mattie and their foster-parents, she’s locked up in a new kind of family prison. None of the inmates are themselves criminals, but wider society wants them to do time for the unpunished ‘heritage’ crimes of their parents.
Tensions are bubbling inside the London prison network Ant and Mattie call home – and when things finally erupt, they realize they’ve got one chance to break out. Everyone wants to see them punished for the sins of their mum and dad, but it’s time for Ant to show the world that they’re not to blame.
A new nail-bitingly taught YA suspense thriller, from author of the bestselling ITCH series, Simon Mayo.
Dystopian futures in fictions is a powerful set-up for a story. Since they usually mirror our own world they easily create a sense of reality making them relate-able. Add the sense of broken world or threat to the survival of humanity then they become engaging and thrilling read. And if the story create awareness or raised questions the better. Just like what Simon Mayo did in his latest novel, Blame.
Blame easily a successful dystopian read. It is relate-able, engaging, thrilling, thought-provoking and even horrifying at times. It’s a chilling view a possible future we can have if we are not careful with our choices.
In Blame, heritage crime – a law that allows government to punish the current generation for their parents and grandparents crime is implemented in many parts of the world including United Kingdom where Ant and her brother Mattie lives. They were sent to Spike, a jail reserved for families convicted of heritage crime. Ant and Mattie are serving prison for their birth parents crime. The parents who abandoned them long before the law was implemented in their country. Their poster parents Gina and Dan are also with them at Spike, both serving prison for the unpunished crime of their own parents. Government demands them to pay for past crime committed by their families, blaming them after all the chaos caused by great depression.
The idea of a society too caught up in blaming which resulted to the implementation of “heritage crime” and making the younger generation pay is an interesting and unique concept for a story. Not only it raised questions and thought-provoking ideas about crime and punishment but it also open the mind of readers to future possibilities. Because like it or not, sending entire families to prison is not entirely impossible. Actually if we omit some of the legalities, things like this may be actually happening somewhere. It just so happen that Simon Mayo presented it in this book in a brutal and much larger scale.
Ant’s story laid out real issues that’s possibly facing by some countries. It is an honest representation of few of societies problems that if not handle well can result to what happened in this fictional world. Corruption, red tape, power abuse, propaganda, biased news or media brainwashing are just some of the few things that exist in almost every goverment or society if not all. They are real problems that can cause huge damage like what happen in this fictional version of United Kingdom. A damage we can only hope not to happen in real life.
Right from the start readers will get caught in Ant’s story with her raw and no non-sense voice. Her tough and rough personality makes Blame a thrilling read. Add the danger of prison life, gangs and prisons rivalry, corruptions, politics, and other dirty and gritty things of a world centered in dark times, readers will surely get caught in tangle of all those webs. Simon Mayo hold no bars in shoving readers to Ant’s dangerous world. And by doing so he created a realistic world – one that easily allow readers feels all the dangers and chaos around it.
Simon Mayo even added a language or words used by inmates – slang words to communicate or call someone and something. It’s a simple touch that makes things more believable and reading more engrossing. There’s also Mattie’s notes at the beginning of each chapters which shows how an innocent child like him see a world centered in crime and punishments. While flashbacks inserts which mostly from Dan and Gina’s son Max’s point of view give readers the side of someone who escape the blame and the view of the outside world.
Ant as the main character is easy to root for inspite of all the bad things she had done. She is tough and brave. Hardened by her surroundings and corrupted by bad people and worst conditions, she easily become a victim of drastic life. A child who grew up fast because of all the tough things that life thrown at her. But her love for her younger brother Mattie makes all the difference. She’s a sister who will do anything and give anything for her little brother. Even the impossible things like shielding him in a dark world they are in.
Mattie is the exact opposite of his sister. While Ant is hardheaded and always find herself in trouble, Mattie is the reasonable one. He is a smart kid who remain surprisingly sweet and innocent inspite of his surroundings. He is the only person who can tame his sister. The only opinion that matters to Ant is his. Without Mattie Ant will be totally lost for sure. He is the one who keeps Ant grounded and still saveable.
Overall, Blame is pensive, action-packed and tension-filled read. Simon Mayo successfully weaved a dark and disturbingly realistic world that will make readers think and dreaded the possibility of its existence. It will makes you question things, the government, laws, corruptions, or just humanity in general. Let just hope this won’t happen in real life.
* This review is based on a copy I received courtesy of the Social Book in exchange for an honest opinion.