All Things Now Living (Rondi Bauer Olson) – Review


This review is posted as part of the Litfuse Blog Tour for All Things Now Living.

3 stars

~ About the Book ~

Sixteen-year-old Amy doesn’t like anything to die, she won’t even eat the goats or chickens her mama has butchered every fall, but she can’t let herself pity the inhabitants of New Lithisle. In a few short months the dome they built to isolate themselves from the deadly pandemic is predicted to collapse, but her whole life Amy has been taught it’s God’s will they die. They traded their souls for immunity to the swine flu virus, brought God’s curse upon themselves by adding pig genes to their own.

Then, while on a scavenging trip with her father, Amy is accidentally trapped in New Lithisle. At first her only goal is to escape, but when she meets Daniel, a New Lithisle boy, she begins to question how less-than-human the people of New Lithisle are.

Amy’s feelings grow even more conflicted when she learns she didn’t end up in New Lithisle by mistake. Her father is secretly a sympathizer, and was trying to prevent the coming destruction.

Now time is running short and Amy has to decide if she will bring the computer program her father wrote to his contact or save herself. Installing the program could prevent the dome’s collapse, but if Amy doesn’t find her father’s contact in time, she’ll die, along with everyone else.

Genre:  YA Dystopian/Speculative
Series:  #1 Seventh Daughter
Release date:  15 May 2017
Pages:  233
Publisher:  Written Word Communications

Amazon US  //  Amazon AU  //  iBooks  //  Goodreads

~ Excerpt ~

He offers no explanation, but it’s obvious. He’s trying to communicate with someone in New Lithisle. Committee Member Trumble was right. Gilchrist is a traitor, or about to become one.
My stomach turns. I run from the trees across the dry, barren field. I’m at the aegis. I freeze. I see my reflection in the fire, transparent and light, shimmering like an angel, or a ghost. “What am I supposed to do?” My likeness offers no suggestions, but I know. I’ll do what I’ve done every night. Data collection. Facts are neutral.
I tap the blue and green globe icon on my controller. The globe spins, then locks onto our coordinates. My finder lingers over the send button. I tap. A blue bar speeds across the screen. 5, 20, 100 percent. Delivered.
God have mercy on Gilchrist. And me.
My chest stings from the heat. I take a deep breath and let it burn. I reach for the fire. My image mirrors my movements, slow, poised, and graceful. My fingertips graze the edge of the flames. A spark leaps to my hand. I feel alive. I feel pain. I’m tossed in the air, then slammed to the dirt.
“Don’t play with it,” Gilchrist yells from across the field. I hear his lopsided gait pound toward me. He kneels at my side.
My hand throbs. Tears well.
“It’s okay, Pumpkin. Let me see.” Gilchrist pulls a small glass jar from his backpack, applies  cool, while salve to my burns, and wraps it in gauze.
“How does it feel?” he asks.
“I didn’t think I had to warn you to stay away. You didn’t even want to come down here.”
“I wish we hadn’t.”
He slings his backpack over my shoulder. “Help me up.”
We stand. I brace Gilchrist as he walks along the aegis.
“The antenna didn’t work,” he says.
I can’t believe he admitted it. “I don’t want to hear about hat you were doing.”
Of course you do. You’ve been spying on me.”
I press my lips together. I don’t like that word, but I’m not going to argue.
“I don’t blame you. They’ve had sixteen years to indoctrinate you. It’s only natural you’d side with them.”
“I haven’t sided with anyone. The Committee asked me to send them our coordinates. I have. That’s all.”
Gilchrist rests his hands on my shoulders. “I know you did what you thought was right, but you must understand. So do I.”
His grip tightens.
I duck, but can’t pull loose. “Hey!”
His eyes narrow.
My stomach drops.
He shoves me into the flames.

~ Review ~

This book got off to a good start and was well-paced throughout, but for all that, I didn’t enjoy it as much as I anticipated. I was intrigued by the premise of the book—a group of people who mixed pig genes with their own in order to gain immunity to the swine virus and isolated themselves from the rest of civilization behind a dome—and I was looking forward to a story that explored the hows and whys of this situation as well as the consequences, not just from the individual perspective of Amy and the impending collapse of the dome, but in a broader philosophical and social sense as well. However these elements of the story got lost in the driving plot point of stopping the dome from collapsing.

That’s not to say that the need to stop the dome from collapsing wasn’t an engaging plot. It was. I just found that without a solid understanding of the world the author had created, I spent a lot of time wondering why things were the way they were, why the characters were doing what they did, and what needs to be achieved beyond preventing the collapse of the dome. The plot also overshadowed the character development, which meant I didn’t become as emotionally invested in the story as I could have.

Speaking of character development, the other thing that didn’t work for me in this novel was the romance between Amy and Daniel. It was a case of insta-love that skipped over the whole ‘getting to know you’ stage of the relationship. It wasn’t cheesy or superficial; it just didn’t have enough substance to make its development realistic.

It may be that this novel will appeal more to the YA audience it is written for, particularly those who are after a plot-driven story, but it fell a little short of the mark for me.

I received a copy of this novel through Litfuse Publicity Services. This has not influenced the content of my review, which is my honest and unbiased opinion.

~ Giveaway ~

One grand prize winner will receive:

  • A copy of All Things Now Living
  • A Kindle Fire

Enter today by clicking the icon below, but hurry! The giveaway ends on December 14. The winner will be announced December 15 on the Litfuse blog.


~ About the Author ~

Randi OlsonRondi Bauer Olson is a reader and writer from Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. Her debut novel for young adults, ALL THINGS NOW LIVING, was a finalist in the 2012 American Christian Fiction Writer’s Genesis Contest. She and her husband, Kurt, live on a hobby farm with three of their four mostly-grown children, along with a menagerie of animals including, but not limited to, horses, cows, alpacas, goats, dogs, cats, rabbits, chickens, and parrots. Rondi also works as a registered nurse and owns a gift shop located within view of the beautiful Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore.

Connect with Rondi:  Website  //  Blog  //  Facebook  //  Twitter  //  Pinterest

About Fiction Aficionado

Homeschooling mum, word lover, reader extraordinaire, and follower of Christ
This entry was posted in Book Reviews, Christian Fiction, Dystopian Fiction, New Releases, Speculative Fiction and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

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