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Crecheling: Volume 1 Paperback – 25 February 2015
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About the Author
- Publisher : Wordfire Press (25 February 2015)
- Language : English
- Paperback : 216 pages
- ISBN-10 : 1614753032
- ISBN-13 : 978-1614753032
- Dimensions : 13.97 x 1.37 x 21.59 cm
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The reward for Dyan and her Crechemates in proving their loyalty to the System through such drastic means is induction into Urbane adulthood and their desired roles in society. (Dyan wants only to be a full-time daycare worker or "Magistrate" at that--an occupation of nurture and compassion rather than brutality). Everything goes wrong, of course when the boys and girls Dyan and her Chrechemates are ordered to kill decide to retaliate--and killing was not at all what she thought would be expected of her.
The central concept I took away from Crehceling was a rather profound exploration of the idea that families are fundamental units of society. In a fictional civilization where families are all but done away, the romantic subplot between Dyan and Jak (as many YA books feature a romantic subplot) results in their beautifully mature resolution to join together as "man and good wife" to create their own family in utter defiance of the System's grooming. This strikes me as a clever and thought-provoking trope twist. Wrapped up nicely with this progression are other significant revelations about the power of family ties that could not be stifled by the System that come to light toward the end of the book.
The story is bloody with many character-personal casualties (few expendables were slaughtered, which I like). It also features these highly creative "monofilament" whips that can cut a person in half with a single lash. I found these to be the most intriguing--and terrifying--technological features of Butler's brutal world. As a geologist, I also loved adventuring through the milieu of deserts and canyons scorched by heat.
Butler has created a rich post-apocalyptic world with strong characters. The action-packed plot is full of twists that will keep you on the edge of your seat. If you're a fan of YA dystopia and post-apocalyptic fiction, put this on your reading list. It is fantastic.
The book starts off as something akin to the scifi classic Dune. Not that the two stories have anything in common, but as in Dune, Crecheling begins with a world so well-developed that it feels like a character -- if not the MAIN character. The names of characters, concepts, places, rituals -- all are thrown at the reader in a pace so rapid it is almost as though Butler expects us to have visited this place before. Again, a density of information reminiscent of Dune. The assumption that the reader knows what is going on is exactly the opposite of reality: we are lost, tossed in the deep end of a profound storyline. But in Butler's sure narrative we find a lifeline, a secure path to understanding. Where other writers would fling nonsense words at us in the hopes of creating a "future-esque feel," Butler throws those words at us with an assurance that communicates, simply, "You haven't heard of this? Really? Because it's real, you know. All these places and things are REAL places and things, and I'm a bit surprised you haven't heard of them already. But stick around, and in a few pages all will be clear."
And in a few pages, it IS.
The story follows Dyan, a "crecheling" - the equivalent of a teenager or young adult - as she is about to leave her creche. The creche is something akin to a nursery, only one that grows with the children, shuffling along with them as they grow, training them to take an adult place in the Buza System: the highest echelon of leaders in a post-Apocalyptic system of haves and have-nots. The crechelings, Dyan included, all wait anxiously for their chance to leave the creche, to take up their positions in assigned slots, in jobs that are chosen for them by the System and that will define them until they die.
It is a perfect system. Except for the occasional bandit, the occasional thief... the occasional traitor to the system itself.
But those small details are of little matter to the crechelings. Like so many young people, they just want to grow up. To be "real" adults, with "real" responsibilities.
And then they find out that becoming an adult in the System is not merely a symptom of living a certain number of days. They must take a final, ugly test. And only those who are properly "Blooded" by this test can take their places in the System. Those who don't....
To tell more of the story would be to do a disservice to the reader. Again, like Dune the story takes its time to set up, moving methodically until a solid foundation is laid out. But once the "Blooding" happens, the action starts and rarely lets up for more than a few pages. And every few pages the reader is met by a delightful new turn, a fun twist, a daring and ingenious escape.
Which leads to another thing: the characters. They are fantastically well-drawn. There are no stereotypical characters in this book. The main characters are incredibly-well fleshed out, with hopes and dreams and lives that feel as real as any in the best YA available today. Even the secondary characters avoid stereotype, opting instead for ARCHEtype - the Teacher, the Killer, the Mother - who are given only a few pages, but shine all the more brightly for their brief appearances. Indeed, this is one of the few books where I emailed the person who had recommended the book and e-hollered at him for giving me the idea to read it because "[SPOILER, CHARACTER NAME DELETED] DIED! HOW COULD YOU LET ME READ THIS WHEN YOU KNEW [SPOILER -- NAME DELETED] WAS GOING TO DIE, YOU [non-spoiler, bad word deleted]?"
In sum, this was a fantastic book by an excellent author. My only nit-pick is that there aren't more books in the series. Yet. But I trust there will be soon, because some stories simply MUST be told.
I enjoyed the author's use of locations which may exist in the real world, and I ended up studying maps to see if I could find real-world correlations to each story setting.
I will recommend it to my teen, and will certainly read the rest of the series.
*Story gains tension and layers as we delve into it.
*Setting and details of tech are interesting. A few tantalizing hints dropped here and there about where the story may lead.
*Several of the main characters begin to develop multi-layered links with others, promises interesting series story arc.
*Cheela was too easy for me to dislike, maybe I was just seeing Dyan's perception of her.
*Until Chapter 4, I did not feel tension aside from that concerning Cheela.
*Brevity. Ready for the next one. Back to work!