In a future where children are segregated into institutions that range from comfortable “Learning Communities” to prison-like “Local Academies”, seventeen-year-old Jackson is an academic high flyer, living in a top Learning Community and destined for a position in the Leadership. But when he is sent with his best friend Wilson to deliver a package to a factory block, the two boys are attacked, leaving Jackson badly beaten and Wilson dead.
Confused and upset, Jackson returns to his Learning Community only to be dismissed by his teachers who claim not to know him. Sent to an Academy, an institute set up to train factory workers, Jackson finds himself immersed in a world that couldn’t be further removed than the comfortable life he’s used to; a harsh, violent, semi-articulate society where the students have created their own hierarchy based on fighting ability.
Using his wits to survive, Jackson starts to realise that his whole life has been based on half-truths. And in order to survive he needs to expose the lies that surround the Academy and find out the truth about who he really is. As he builds alliances and begins to educate those closest to him, a plan for rebellion and escape gradually comes into shape...
I really enjoyed this book
It is a UK dystopian which is edgy and exciting. The world established is terrifyingly realistic and creepy. I loved seeing how the different strands of society had become segregated and the impact that had on the life chances of the individuals effected by the segregation starting with very very basically the way they spoke but right up to the opportunities and experiences available to them.
I loved loved loved the fact that the kids with all the power and respect in this book were the red heads and that everyone wanted to have hair like them. In a society were red heads can be ridiculed soled because of a feature they were born with and can't control as an accepted norm I loved this! The way in which the society in the academy worked was fascinating with youngsters fighting for status. Lord of the flies esque and really chilling!
I loved seeing the world through the eyes of the main character. He enters this world where he is suddenly reliant on a whole new skill set after spending his life getting by on his own intelligence. I enjoyed seeing his frustration as he tried to explain ideas and theories to the children he met who had been brought up in a world full of indoctrination which made them not bother to think for themselves. I particularly thought this was really telling when he was trying to point out government use of propaganda in news broadcasts.
An intesting start to what promises to be a cracking series.