Monday, 6 May 2013

Book: The Ultimate Choice by Lisa Hinsley

What would you do to save someone you love? What would you do to save your country and your people? Would you make the Ultimate Choice?

First off is a warning, this book can get pretty graphic, there is an attempted rape scene that is described in more detail then is comfortable (but the fact it does make you feel uncomfortable should tell you something about the quality of the writing!) and there are also some pretty graphic descriptions of the 'disease'.

It's set in London (well I think that it is London, saying in England is probably a better thing to say, you'll know why if you read it), and the country, and the rest of the world, are suffering from Overpopulation and as a result, enforced rationing, of which there are not enough of, and legalised (and encouraged, even enforced sometimes) suicide. It follows Cassie, who broke the rules by having sex without a permit, and getting pregnant (how she got found out), she's then forced to commit suicide (on a TV Game Show no less) in order to save the life of her son Jack, who she only had to herself for a week and is never actually present in the novel.

After reading the opening chapters, of Cassie's time on the game show, the Ultimate Choice (where 'suiciders' have people chosen for them to organ done to, and then get cut up on TV), and subsequent escape, I was a little worried that the book was going to drop off from an intriguing and exciting beginning. This feeling was encouraged by the character of Elijah, who I found really one dimensional (not to mention the creepy almost rape scene). However I was surprised that after Cassie moves on with her encounter with Elijah the story really picks up and gets back to what it promised to be.

This is where you get introduced to the real rebels, rather than the accidental rebels like Cassie, and I thought that the characters in the rebel group and their relationships with Cassie, really grew in a believable way, particularly Cassie and Liam's relationship.

There was no love triangle (something refreshing in modern dystopian fiction), and there was actually very little in the way of actual romantic love for Cassie, that wasn't the focus of the story.

I was very surprised by the ending, that was not what I expected at all, I didn't even see it coming until I started reading it, which was highly refreshing for any genre. There was absolutely no predictability, and the ending really finished off the story, there were no real loose ends.

The one thing I would have appreciated more about the end of the book, is if there had been an epilogue looking at Jack's world in a couple of decades time, though I'm not entirely convinced of Jack's continued existance at any point of the novel, Cassie only presumes she knows what has happened to him.

If you are prepared to take on some graphic scenes then I recommend you give this one a go, it's original and fresh!