Placed in what could possibly be our future, based on stone walls from long ago, Genetopia takes its readers on adventures through a culture and world where nothing is as it appears.
It is very important to be a True. A True does not have any deviations within it. In other words, a 100% human with no mutations. Babies are called pups. Those pups that appear to be normal are named at 3. Prior to 3, babies can be taken to a hill and left to die. Those that are not True are called mutts. Mutts do much of the labor and are not considered human or very smart. Those True that exhibit mutations later in life are Lost and driven from the villages.
Between villages are wildlands where the Lost set up colonies which the True attempt to remove. The trees grow fruit but it may be tainted. Creatures, large and small, roam the wildlands but not all are benign.
Flint and Amber are brother and sister. Flint is the older and has always watched over his sister especially as their father is brutal and abusive. Amber’s eyes are stained yellow from a childhood illness, not a sign that she is not True. When Amber disappears, Flint’s first thought is she is hiding due to a fight they recently had. But after he can not find her for a couple of days and no one has seen her, he takes off through the wildlands to look for her. This quest to find his sister leads him further than he ever expected to go and exposes him to people and ideas that are far different than those he grew up with.
This story enticed me and kept me intrigued almost from start to finish.
The unique social structures gave you pause. While they are family based, there is a brutality there as each group struggles to survive and thrive. Each clan specializes in something which is needed for all. Each clan also has its own territories and they will fight to keep them. Outside the clans are travelers, many who are Lost but can pass for True. These travelers can be storytellers or river workers or dentists or healers or …..
Flint is a very likable character that has a great deal of depth. His sister, Amber is not seen as much as Flint but she also comes across very well. The characters that they interact with are interesting but vary on how well you really get to know them.
I really enjoyed this story. It was definitely different but the story just pulled you in and you didn’t want to let go. The situations that Flint and Amber found themselves were eye opening and learning experiences. The Flint and Amber that left their family home are not the Flint and Amber that ended this story as their perceptions of the world and the beliefs that they held have been challenged and tested changing them forever.
This is an excellent fantasy story that teens and adults alike should enjoy.
Format: Hardcover, 305pp
"Genetopia is the story of a young man in search of his possibly abducted sister in a far future where nano- and biotechnology have transformed and accelerated the evolution of humans and their strangely altered surroundings. In this world, you can never take anything - or anyone - at face value. Illness and contact with the unknown are always to be feared, as viruses reengineer genes and germ cells, migrating traits from species to species through plague and fever. Humankind lives in isolated communities, connected by trade routes and always fighting to keep the unclean at arm's length." But if Flint is to find his sister, he must brave the fevers, the legendary beasts, the unknown. He must enter strange communities and seek help in the most unlikely places. He must confront both his own dark past and the future of his kind. He must go into the wildlands.