Book Review of 2108: Eyes Open (Volume 1)

2108: Eyes Open (Volume 1)
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Summary: It is the year 2108. The world has gone through an alien invasion, but New Zealand has become the home of those that are naturals and holdouts. Naturals are those that don't want anything done to their bodies. They don't want bionic additions, tattoos, or to even wear synthetic materials. Jewel, our heroine, is a natural. We meet her as she tries to figure out how to get her dad moving so that she can get restrictions taken off of her aerokopa (just like my students trying to get their parents moving so they can get a car). She is very inquisitive, but also aware of her social status. This leads her to question things, but also to worry too much about who she is seen with. Her dad seems to want her to become friends with some Holdouts, but she doesn't understand why. She is constantly pointing out how different and weird they are. She doesn't understand their beliefs, so she thinks they are crazy (nutmeg to be exact). This same type of feeling does not occur when she randomly meets a bionic (humans that have intermixed with the aliens) out on the river. She helps him and starts to talk to him. She is worried initially that he may be a spy, but he gives her gifts and gains her trust. Who wouldn't trust a hot guy that gives you the ability to breath underwater and play with dolphins? From this bionic, she learns about the troller ship that her dad is worried about, some of the bionic technology, and she develops a bit of a crush. When she invites him to go to a costume party as her date, she may have gone a bit too far with this friendship. Is this bionic really to be trusted? When problems start occurring at the party, a dock blows up, and a kidnapping occurs, it is hard to figure out who the good and the bad guys are. What is poor Jewel to do? Perhaps curiosity really did kill the cat.

My thoughts: I'm not usually a big science fiction reader unless it is mainly a dystopian. 2108 is not really a dystopian. It is an apocalyptic type novel that has some issues, but the utopian aspect is not really there. Glanville does an excellent job of world building. You are immediately thrown into the world, but Glanville slowly unveils more and more of Jewel's life and surroundings. Some of this is done through the question sessions with Jewel and the bionic, but most of it is just as if you were seeing things through Jewel's eyes. I do believe that the world building and descriptions are the best part of this novel. The action moves quickly, but when problems occur Jewel doesn't seem to have as much of an attitude as I would have thought. She seems to lay down and fall into hopelessness quicker than I would have liked. This is not necessarily Glanville's flaw, just not what I wanted. The other aspect that I did not like about the book is that there are clear prejudices between all of the social groups/races. That's fine and builds some of the tension between characters, but I never feel like anyone learns that the other group isn't all bad. People pretty much fit the stereotypes that Jewel sees and that is a let down to me for a young adult book. I always want their to be acceptance as a large theme. I'm hoping in future books I will see that. Overall, I'm giving this 4 stars because science fiction should be based off of world building, action, and exotic characters. This book has all of those aspects. I'm just waiting for the overall lesson to be learned.