The story was well written, with vibrant descriptions and characters that brought this dystopian world together. It has the feel of stories like The Giver, with a society content with how things are despite the evils that are most likely going on just behind the scenes. It takes one character to change the game and this one happened to be Walt. He captures the essence of what questioning the social norm is meant to be. In many ways I hope that I would be the "Walt" if I ever faced a similar situation and yet, isn't it better to be content? At least that's what most people say. I always enjoy dystopians for that exact reason. It is about questioning everything - sometimes even yourself.
Walt is the main character of this story, filled with less confidence than the typical hero of a novel. In fact, I am pretty sure he would be the type of guy that feared everything... including himself. However that seems to make him more adorable to me than I care to admit. As the story continues he begins to act more like Yorrick, which in someways makes me sad because I loved the tongue-tied shine little boy that I met in the beginning. It's amazing what meeting a girl can do to a guy's temperament. He manages to not only silently challenge the norm and bring about great change in the best sort of way.
Yorrick is his cousin and the heir to become the future leader for Hope Harbor. He will become the future Bookkeeper, the man with the most knowledge about the past of the island they live on and the Goddess they believe in. All of this knowledge has certainly made him a know-it-all and arrogant in certain ways but he always cared deeply for Walt. They were each other's best friend and greatest allies. Together they wanted to push the boundaries of their society but... sometimes things don't work out like you hope they will.
There are only two people that I am going to talk about in his family is Grandpa Thomas and his Grandma. His grandfather is an interesting character and you can see from the very beginning that Walt admires him greatly. They have a certain close relationship where once a week they went to the temple together and he respected his grandfather's wishes. But Grandpa Thomas was clinging to a past that had long since gone. A lost love that he could never reclaim because she ran from the society that he believed in. This made him determined to never allow that to happen to his new wife and daughter. Both relationships ended in sadness. His grandma faced a great deal of heartache throughout her life. First, the man she loved never truly loved her the way she wanted. She watched him fawn over a lost love and go insane over the idea that this fate might again happen with her and their daughter. His determination to only observe the religion in its fullest and never ask questions eventually led to their divorce. At that moment she truly lost all connections with her family and was not allowed to see her grandson. She continued to mourn the loss of many things.
Annabelle is goddess of this society. They say that she had long ago made a promise to the people that she would return by ship and bring them home again. It is this promise that leads them to keep surviving and maintain their society, always hoping - always searching for the woman that is meant to save them. But Walt must face and challenge this promise - this goddess - during his journey to find out what is real and what is not.
Alisa is the girlfriend of Yorrick and she centered him in a way that many people couldn't. She managed to see beyond his facade and into the real man that he was meant to be. After facing terrible heartbreak, she becomes Walt's biggest support and is determined to know the truth about their society's beliefs. She fears the what ifs of the world and suddenly the world she has once depended on is no longer the world she thought it was. A beautiful friendship blooms between Walt and Alisa but it remains there. She is in love with Yorrick, despite everything, and cannot see beyond it. I believe that Walt and Alisa become each others greatest support because they both lost something special.
Leia is someone very special to the story. An Unbeliever. A girl that captures Walt's affections and makes him turn into his cousin. I adore her for never giving into his attempts at flirtation although her cheeks without fail always become bright red.
This book is a lovely read and I think you can certainly read this as a stand alone novel if you so chose. Definitely check it out!
** This book was received from the author. None of the thoughts or feelings expressed in this review are influenced by the author and are entirely the reviewer's personal opinions.**