In a changed world where the sky bleeds red, winter is hotter than hell and full of sandstorms, and summer's even hotter with raging fires that roam the desert-like country, the Heaters manage to survive, barely. Due to toxic air, life expectancies are so low that the only way the tribe can survive is by forcing women to procreate when they turn 16 and every three years thereafter. It is their duty as Bearers. Fifteen-year-old Siena is a Youngling, soon to be a Bearer, when she starts hearing rumors of another tribe of all women, called the Wild Ones. They are known to kidnap Youngling girls before the Call, the ceremony in which Bearers are given a husband with whom to bear children with. As the desert sands run out on her life's hourglass, Siena must uncover the truth about the Wild Ones while untangling the web of lies and deceit her father has masterfully spun.
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I originally received a copy of this book in 2013 from the author in return for an honest review, which I duly posted. However, I am now editing my review to incorporate listening to it in audiobook format, which I purchased through Audible UK.
This audiobook is narrated by Khristine Hvam. I must admit that when I heard her narration I thought to myself, 'This doesn't sound like the Siena in my head as I pictured her.' However, as I listened to her speak, I realised that her voice is perfect for Siena's character. She brings a charm and warmth to the story. She also gives each character their own voice and accent, which brings them to life. Her diction is clear and precise and easy to listen to. I would definitely consider listening to more books narrated by her.
My original review:
OMG! This is a fantastically brutal dystopian novel. I LOVED IT!
Siena is a fantastic character! She is a young lady that I greatly admire. Her determination, independence and grit astounded me. As her sixteenth birthday looms, she has to make a decision that will change her life.
As I started reading this book, I was completely pulled in to a world that has been devastated by a disaster of biblical proportions. The Heaters are a tribe living in the most unforgiving conditions I have ever encountered in the pages of a book, but somehow, they manage to survive. Raging sandstorms, fires and unrelenting heat would sap the energy out of anyone, but these people have gained my respect with their ingenuity and sheer determination. I found myself sitting on the edge of my seat more than once, as the story unraveled. I also found myself on a rollercoaster of swinging emotions; from disbelief, anger, sadness, happiness, disgust, joy, a few other mixed ones and back again! However, it is their laws that I found myself railing against. The one where they have to force girls of sixteen to procreate for their survival. I can understand the need to survive as a tribe, but it's the way they go about it that made my stomach clench! I wanted to shout "perverts", but as they are fictional characters, they wouldn't hear me! However, there are some really likable characters that redeemed the tribe in my eyes. These are Siena's friends: Circ and Veena. Circ is one of her closest friends and a wonderful character. He is a Hunter and the same age as Siena. Veena is a year older than Siena, and has already had a baby. Her attempts to get her no-good Call (mate) to take care of the baby made me giggle! This book is peppered with a whole slew of tribal slang, but it reminded me of some words I could picture the Australians saying (no offence to the Australians, I love their slang!). There are also a fair few twists and turns in this book that kept me hooked from the first page to the last! I am now looking forward to reading the next book in the series!
David Estes has written a fantastic dystopian novel that has turned me into a huge fan! I love his writing style, which is fast paced and extremely fluid! His characters came alive, and the descriptions of the environs left me breathless! I am looking forward to reading more of his books in the future.
I highly recommend this book if you love YA or Dystopian genres. - Lynn Worton
Note, review is for all 3 books as a whole. I listened to this series of books as I enjoyed the dwellers saga and the 4th book of that series is also the 4th book of this series, so thought I might aswel listen to these. the books themselves are good enough, nothing that's going to blow your mind but ok really. I do quite like how multiple story's of several main characters all end up tying in together. my main gripe would be the accents of the ummmm.... voice actors?? I don't know what they are called but they truly are awful. The replacement of curse words for "scorchin'" or "icein" is a tad annoying but a bit if a gimmick and not the end of the world but overall I find the reading, accents and pronunciations really annoying. but overall worth a listen I suppose but dwellers saga is far better.