Assuming that you've ever read the newspaper, watched the news on TV, or stepped at least five feet outside your front door, you probably know that a lot of bad stuff happens in our world. Children become bone-thin from lack of food, soldiers constantly blow each other up, people lay sick dying from all kinds of diseases, families live in filth and rags on the streets. Now, if you think that's bad, imagine those issues times ten. Imagine people so undernourished that they are reduced to eating "nutrient gruel", a substance with appallingly gruesome components. Imagine soldiers not only killing their enemies, but their own countrymen - ordinary citizens - as well. Imagine hundreds of poor, sick, and homeless people confined to ghettos, forced to live off of whatever they can get.by any means necessary. There are no relief organizations, little to no government, and very few people with anyone in mind but themselves. There is just constant suffering and unfairness. The only renewable resource is fear.
This is the world of the people of Orokos.
Chris Wooding weaves an intricate web of adventure, deceit, mystery, hate, and yet above all, hope, in his 2006 novel Storm Thief. This book focuses on two children, or should I say, "adolescents", Rail and Moa, who brave the perils of the remote island city of Orokos every day of their lives, from dealing with the Protectorate, the people who are the supposed "protectors" of the citizens of Orokos, to avoiding Revenants, the sworn enemy of the Protectorate. One touch from a Revenant and you're good as dead. Rail and Moa are at the lowest level in Orokos' society - ghetto folk. The poor people. While the people in ghettoes live in squalor, those in other parts of the city live richly and comfortably, thinking of the poorer citizens as a particularly nasty kind of insect - more annoying than anything else, but still fun to fry under a magnifying glass. " 'Northwest 43 is a ghetto district. Who cares what the stupid ghetto-folk say? ' " (pg. 30) In one aspect of life on Orokos, however, social class doesn't matter - because the rich and the poor are all the same when it comes to probability storms. Probability storms (which aren't at all like the thunder-and-lightning-type storms that we're used to) can occur at any time, and affect anything and anyone. Entire buildings might disappear in a second, or just change color. Someone might wake up and find themselves grossly deformed, or simply change from being right-handed to left-handed. No one, not even the all-powerful (and slightly creepy) Patrician who rules the city, knows what will be affected by the storms next. The same apprehension, the same fear of the future that the people of Orokos felt was what kept me going as I read this book. I needed to know what was going to happen; I needed to quench my thirst for knowledge. How Wooding gave all of the characters their own distinct personalities and was able to tell the stories of about five people at once and still keep the story line intact was what made Storm Thief a great read.
In the beginning, we are introduced to the main characters, Rail and Moa. They each have their own unfortunate past - Rail, having been struck by a probability storm that caused him to loose the ability to breathe on his own, wears a respirator that covers the bottom half of his face. Moa, who lost both of her parents, was taken in by Rail on her first day in the ghetto. They make their living by being...
Absolutely brilliant. I couldn't set it down, I was enthralled the whole time. It's a combo of Lois Lowry, Fahrenheit 451, and City of Ember but at the same time very unique. It's in a setting so far in the future that it's beginning to ruin, which is similar to Gathering Blue. There is still a lot of the technology, though, and in that way it's like City of Ember. I absolutely recommend it and love it. I just can't part with my copy! :)
Very good quick read. If you liked Farenheit 451, you might like this book.