2103 (Act 1) by Drew Avera – 4 stars
It’s the year 2103. Fifty-three years after the second American Civil War the landscape of a once great nation is in shambles. The United States in no more and is now broken into three separate countries; The American Union, The Confederate States of America, and the California Republic. The American Union is in a constant state of Martial Law due to rioting by a group of protestors known as “Outliers”.
They fight against the oppressive laws decreed by President Caleb Fulton, but all is not what it seems. The man they know as President Fulton is an actor named Stephen O’Neil who is being held captive by an administration that has been in power for more than twenty years. After their plan to have the protestors killed in a tragedy dubbed “The Chicago Massacre”, the American Union’s capital is in upheaval and reeling over the deaths as more troops hit the ground to secure order. But the massacre is nothing more than a giant act of smoke and mirrors. There is an agenda at play that once it has begun, will have a devastating effect on the entire world.
Told from multiple points of view, in brief glimpses of a characters life, 2103 is a story about corruption, greed, and the human will to survive. For those who love dystopian, speculative fiction. Take a journey into the “land of the free and the home of the brave” after everything falls apart.
Know going into this that is a novella (meaning short) and the ending is more or less a cliffhanger. That said, I enjoyed it overall. The book shifts perspectives while staying first person, which I didn’t like at first, but it grew on me. By the end, it felt comfortable and even like it would be wrong to use third person here. Thankfully, exposition is woven in and the infodumping is only minimal.
Each character has a lot of life to him or her, and the differing perspectives are interesting to see from. Two or three of them could have been a little darker or more intense. Still, I was left feeling like I understood the various points of view, as well as getting an intriguing story out of these people.
The dystopia is quite dark and oppressive. Towards the middle, I started to wonder when a ray of hope or sunshine would come in for some relief. It did eventually come. After I finished it, I looked back and realized the thread of hope was always there, it just didn’t stand out until it became clear.
I recommend this to folks who like dystopian views of American society. It’s not a story about a single hero saving the day, it’s a story about group survival, the human spirit, and small acts of heroism.
I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review of it, which did not impact my opinion of it.