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First of all I have to admit that I love everything by Elena Giorgi, so I might be a tad biased in my reviews 🙂
Akaela is the latest offering by this fast rising author, who started her writing career with her popular Track Presius series. This new book however, the first in the Mayake Chronicles, is catered towards the young adult readership, although I have to say it can be easily read by anyone – and I say this as I am over the age of 45 already.
The author has a knack for writing sci-fi futuristic thrillers with some paranormal elements sprinkled throughout. Akaela is no exception.
The story takes place in a post-apocalyptic dystopian future where let’s just say that transhumanism got to a whole new level. People are no longer using chips, implants and advanced technology to enhance their body (and brains). They now use it to survive.
The humans as we know it are long extinct. The only ones who survived the catastrophe that wiped out humanity are the early transhumanists, who are now cyborgs by way of necessity. Part human, part machine, they have to rely on advancing technology to thrive – and to exist.
However that is becoming increasingly more difficult due to them being surrounded by the Gaijian, who have taken most of their lands and left them only with The Tower, the last place where the Mayake can still live, with an aging technology that does them no favors.
Because as the chips in their various parts of the body fail, with no new chips available to replace them, people are dying. And unless they strike a deal with the Gaijian, there is no hope for a future for the Mayake people.
So they decide to send 3 emissaries (one of them Akaela’s father) to the Gaijian as a way to bargain for some tech and a bit of peace between the two races. And without giving any more spoilers away, let’s just say that things don’t turn out as hoped or expected.
Akaela is a teen who is the typical dystopian novels heroine. First just a rebellious teen who feels no fear (literally), she matures fast and learns to take things into her own hands to try to save her people. And her father – or at least to learn what happened to him.
Most people in The Tower have some special abilities due to their various implants. Akaela can fly – glide, and boy does she do it with elegance, style and speed. Her brother can see in the dark with a better than 20/20 vision with a camera embedded in his eyeballs. Their friend Wes is a blade-legged runner, and Lukas, their other friend is ‘the brainiac’.
Akaela, her brother Athel and their friends are adaring group of young people who symbolize the future – a future that is still possible despite all odds.
The society is described with enough details to know that I would definitely not want to live there – but what can you do when that’s the only place you have to live in? Rebel and try to make things better. The characters are well fleshed out – especially the young ones, and they are the spark in the night that gives the elders hope. The very same elders who would severely punish them for the smallest of infractions.
If you peel away the layers of social interaction, you will have at heart a wonderful crime mystery, one that that Akaela with her brother and friends will be able to solve. They are the detectives here and the ingenious way in which they do that left me quite impressed.
Overall this is is a terrific start of a new series, and while I truly wish Elena would write a new Track Presius book (hint hint), I can’t wait to read the next installment in this rather short and engaging young adult dystopian series.