Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Cherry Heaven by L.J. Adlington

From the Inside Flap:
“Kat and Tanka J are starting over. The New Frontier is nothing like war-stricken City Five – no battle scars, no memories of their parents. It’s a perfect society, where everyone lives in harmony. Or so they say.”

Cherry Heaven is a companion novel to The Diary of Pelly D. Being a companion novel and not a sequel I felt confident going in that it wouldn’t matter that I had not already read Pelly D. After reading the book, I’m not so sure. I think the author does a pretty good job creating the setting, but there were details that I didn’t understand. For instance references to gills popped up quite a bit. Gills were getting irritated, they were airing out, so on and so forth. Eventually-110 pages into the book- it’s finally explained that humans have evolved and now have gills. Maybe she felt we already knew that, or maybe it was just poor writing. All I know is that for 109 pages I was going, what the heck are up with the gills?

Don’t get me wrong, there was much to like in Cherry Heaven. Shitzer, the swearword employed by characters on many occasions, being one of the most enjoyable aspects of the story. It sounds rude and slightly German which is doubly appropriate seeing as Adlington books are clearly influenced by the Holocaust. The custom of adding a person’s initial to their name was also fun and coupled with the futuristic sounding names helped to emphasize that this was set in a time other than our own.

Chapters alternate between Kat and Tanka’s story and an escaped factory worker who is hellbent on revenge. The factory worker’s chapters drew me into the story much more than the other. They were twisted, suspenseful, and divulged more information and clues than the other narrative. Kat and Tanka, on the other hand, seem sort of bland. Kat, is the quiet, smart sister, Tanka the beautiful, rash, loudmouth (who also has a bad case of the racism, a bad case of the superficial, and a bad case of the not very well developed character syndrome). In fact, although we are told repeatedly that sisters stick together, I was often left wondering why. Tanka is blatantly racist against the Galrezi, the gene tribe held in lowest esteem. She blurts out racist statements early and often regardless of the fact that her murdered parents were Galrezi and she is rude and dismissive to her sister. Sure, Tanka does have a shining moment late in the book, but by that time I was so irritated with her it didn’t seem as believable as it could have. In comparison it made Kat seem like a doormat instead of one of our main heroines.

The storytelling is a bit heavy handed and the ending is somewhat pat. Loose ends and character’s fates all tied up nicely. Fans of the first book will be happy to see closure to Pelly Ds storyline. Your avid science fiction fans will want to read it, but I think there better novels out there to recommend.

Other Reviews:
The Compulsive Reader


Anonymous said...

I THOUGHT THE BOOK WAS AWESOME!! x) But your review is also very true. I was confused with the gills part--But I figured it must have been some kind of mutation humans got when they moved to the New Frontier and so on...

Like you, I didn't read The Diary of Pelly D, but I'm looking forward to it.

I found Tanka's personality well developed. Kat's? ... Not so much. Kat was boring to me. But I also loved the factory chapters! They were amazing, and Luka is by far my most favorite character. :)

Anyways, great review!

Anonymous said...

This book is really good being a companion novel. I read The Diary of Pelly D first and would recommend reading it first before Cherry Heaven. It provides an extensive background on the world they live in, but not a background on WHY they live in the world they do.