Finished!!! (warning: may contain spoilers)
So happy to have finished this book! I’ve felt like I’ve been slacking in the reading department the past couple months, final papers and exams happening, so this felt so nice to be back in a rhythm of reading. This book I’d give a 6/10 which may seem severe but it’s not because I didn’t like it, but because the climatic scenes didn’t feel climatic enough. Let me explain, because this novel it written in narrator form, first person. Theo’s character himself, the novel’s pov, has a very skewed perception of life at this point because it’s been 25 years since the last born child and his cousin has taken up the dictator role of “Warden of Great Britain” enforcing vary degrees of inhumane treatments of Britain’s citizens and incoming “Omegas.” This picture of a cynical, isolated, defeatist mannerism of a man is with which the author chose to create this novel’s pov and in turn the energy level throughout the entire novel with. So even when Theo joins up with the renegade group “The Five Fishes” there is some sense of self-containment in his thoughts, he even admonished himself on many occasions for having a natural emotional reaction any average person would have but because it’s not in tune with his own nature of feelings it must be stomped out.
On the back of the book along with a synopsis are a few review clips from various news publications The New Yorker says, “As scary and suspenseful as anything in Hitchcock,” which I’ll kind of agree with. I mean, nothing will ever replace Hitchcock, but combining scary and suspenseful will give you a thriller which I feel is closer to the mark. I’ll just round up this book review as simply describing it as an adult dystopian worth reading!
Now I feel the need to be kind of picky and point out some major differences between the novel and it’s adaptation into film.
#1: 2021 vs 2027
Why? Too soon? I don’t get it unless it has something to do with 7 sounding nicer than 1.
#2: Jasper Novel vs Jasper Movie
In the novel he’s quite an irrelevant character otherwise known to the reader as Theo’s former professor and now a major paranoid senior with an vegetative state wife whose only purpose in the end was having a secluded home with a large store unit for himself to be self-sufficient. Before the second time Theo visit’s him he committed suicide. Movie Jasper on the other hand seems like fun character that has made best of a sorry situation.
#3: Julian N vs Julian M
Julian in the movie is presented as Theo’s ex-wife and is killed early into the movie. Julian in the novel is a complete stranger who Theo falls in love with (and vice versa) and has him try to help the Five Fishes initial cause by approaching the Warden. Julian is also the pregnant character instead of Clare from the movie, who doesn’t exist in the novel. The baby’s father is Luke not the leader Rolf’s aka her husband.
#4: Xan vs Nigel
In the movie Theo’s cousin is just a high ranking government official whose power extents to recovering art work. In the novel Xan is the leader of the country and his power is omnipresence in a sense. It almost feels like a game of chess the way Theo helps the group evade Xan, and Xan trying to find Theo. Xan even has the Royal Family become obsolete and wears the coronation ring himself as a symbol in his words “familiarity.”
#5: Revolution vs Peace
In the novel for the most part, there is very little room for any revolution or acts of crime to occur without any immediate action against the persecutors being shipped off to the Isle of Man, a self-governed prison where death, starvation, and abuse is a common occurrence with no intervention from the Warden’s council. The Warden’s slogan being; freedom from fear, want, or boredom. Xan’s council member’s follow up with; protection, security, comfort, and pleasure. With the general population accepting those in turn for obedience there isn’t any sort of revolution that occurs in the book. The novel ends with the baby’s birth and Theo taking on the leadership role of Warden. Hence the Hitchcock reference because of the lack of conclusion or epilogue.