A future without family.
Nine is the ninth female born in her batch of ten females and ten males. By design, her life in Freedom Province is without complications or consequences. However, such freedom comes with a price. The Prime Maker is determined to keep that price a secret from the new batches of citizens that are born, nurtured, and raised androgynously.
But Nine isn’t like every other batcher. She harbors indecision and worries about her upcoming Remake Day—her seventeenth birthday, the age when batchers fly to the Remake facility and have the freedom to choose and what they’ll be.
When Nine discovers the truth about life outside of Freedom Province, including the secret plan of the Prime Maker, she is pulled between two worlds and two lives. Her decisions will test her courage, her heart, and her beliefs. Who can she trust? Who does she love? And most importantly, who will decide to be?
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I loved this book and I didn’t love this book. Ilima Todd is an extremely talented author. She pulls you into her dystopian world effortlessly. Her characters are engaging and believable. She is an excellent story-teller, and in Remake, she explores many themes that are controversial in today’s world.
The first part of the book is flawless. Like Lois Lowry’s The Giver, she creates a world that at first glance seems to be Utopian. What teen wouldn’t want unlimited freedom? The citizens of Freedom Province are free to choose everything — what they wear, what they eat and drink, how they look, how they act (as long as it doesn’t infringe on someone else’s freedom), their own name, and even their gender. But also like The Giver, that freedom comes at a cost.
The second part of the book draws a contrast between Freedom Province and family life. And while the writing is still excellent and engaging, I felt that this part of the book didn’t quite live up to the standard Todd established with the first. I didn’t understand Kai’s initial antagonism towards Nine. It didn’t make Kai a particularly likable person. I also felt that a lot of characters were telling Nine why families were so great rather than allowing her to experience it for herself and come to her own conclusions. Also, families are messy. I think it would have enhanced the book if Todd had made the case that families still have value, even when they’re not perfect.
The last part of the book was rushed. I would have liked to see more contrast between the two societies from Nine’s new perspective. There is a character in the last part of the book that I felt was treated unfairly. I hope that he gets a nice big role in the second book.
Overall, I think this book is an excellent debut, and I am looking forward to the next book in the series.
About the Author:
Ilima Todd was born and raised on the north shore of Oahu and dives for octopus with her dad every time she visits—otherwise she’s diving into books in the Rocky Mountains where she lives with her husband and four children. She graduated from BYU with a degree in physics and eats copious amounts of raw fish and avocados without regret. But mostly she loves being a wife and mama and wouldn’t trade that job for anything in the world.
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