Author: Jenny Moyer
Publication: Henry Holt and Co. (BYR) (November 15, 2016)
Description: Orion is a Subpar, expected to mine the tunnels of Outpost Five, near the deadly flash curtain. For generations, her people have chased cirium―the only element that can shield humanity from the curtain’s radioactive particles. She and her caving partner Dram work the most treacherous tunnel, fighting past flash bats and tunnel gulls, in hopes of mining enough cirium to earn their way into the protected city.
But when newcomers arrive at Outpost Five, Orion uncovers disturbing revelations that make her question everything she thought she knew about life on both sides of the cirium shield. As conditions at the outpost grow increasingly dangerous, it’s up to Orion to forge a way past the flashfall, beyond all boundaries, beyond the world as she knows it.
My Thoughts: This is a post-apocalyptic science fiction story taking place after some sort of cosmic disaster. Orion is a Subpar. She and the rest of the Subpars are marginally more resistant to the radioactive particles put out by the flash curtain that surround the area where she lives. She and her fellow subpars are expected to mine dangerous tunnels to find cirium which is the only element that can shield humanity from the radiation. The job is very dangerous but there is hope. Any miner who mines 400 grams of cirium gets a free pass into the protected city.
Getting her 400 grams and enough cirium to save her father and her partner Dram is Orion's only goal. She has an added advantage in that she can detect where cirium deposits are. It is an advantage that only some Subpars have. But those who control the outposts don't want their miners to earn their way out. What Orion believes to be true about her work and her society is not true.
After another disaster, new people are brought in to the outpost and, through them, Orion learns more about how her world is governed. She runs afoul of the governors of her outpost and is sent to another along with her partner Dram and some others. They go through a variety of horrible situations and Orion's goal changes to a search for freedom and survival. Along the way she meets various revolutionaries who hone her thinking and refine her goals.
This is a story of a young woman learning about her world and trying to find herself a place in it. If that means she has to start a revolution, she is more than okay with that. I liked Orion's loyalty to her father. I liked her growing and changing relationship with her partner Dram. I liked Orion's determination to find a better life for herself and her fellow Subpars.
This was an entertaining story with well-drawn characters. I liked that it was filled with revelations. I only wish that I would have gotten a glimpse of life for those in the protected areas so that I could get a more well-rounded picture of the world.
His eyes fill, and he stares into mine. "They always underestimate your strength," he whispers. "Find a way to escape or survive. And when you do..." He looks over to where Dram stands watching the flames. "You bring that boy with you. He is part of what makes you strong." The tears slip down his cheeks.I got this one from Macmillan in exchange for an honest review. You can buy your copy here.
I touch his face a last time. "So are you," I whisper.