Wednesday, 28 August 2013
Book: The Name on Your Wrist by Helen Hiorns
Corin lives in a futuristic England where everything is decided for you, your job, your education, your home, your food intake, everything, even down to your soulmate. At a young age all children are imprinted with a name on their wrist, the name of the person they'll be happiest with, but they are never to tell anyone until they find their soulmate. But Corin has her doubts about the system and its legitimacy, and when she starts being befriended by Colton, and whether she likes it or not they start falling for each other, leading to some telling choices...
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Wow. This is one of those books that has almost left me speechless, I started it this morning, went to work, came home and finished it before 5, which should really give you an idea of just how good this book is!
The way that Hiorns crafts her world is fantastic, at first I was wondering what genre I would actually put this book in, but then as the story progressed it became clearer and clearer to me that it definitely had all of the hallmarks needed for a dystopia. In fact the world was possibly one of the more severe ones that I have seen, particularly for those based in the UK.
I absolutely loved the way that, despite the first person narrative, Hiorns managed to keep the suspense and mystery alive as to whose name was on Corin's wrist, I went through several possible names in my head! And the mystery was the same for Colton and all the other characters, there were actually very few wrists exposed throughout the novel. One thing I couldn't quite wrap my head round though was the concept of wrist script, well not the concept per say but what it looks like. Corin describes it as looking like the print that physical 'old' books are written in (mentioned examples include Les Misérables and Shakespeare's plays), whereas in my head it was much more swirly and more like this (Lucida Handwriting if you want to know). I think that was just something about my imagination though rather than the text being unclear.
One thing that really confused me, and it took quite a bit of time before I found the answer, was how old Corin is in the story (the answer is 19, making her sister 21), though in most young adult dystopias I tend to imagine the female characters being similar to my age range (18 to 21), probably something to do with them being more relatable anyway. Other than that I didn't feel that Corin fit with the stereotypical dystopian heroine, she seemed a lot more skeptical about how things worked right from the beginning, and though she didn't actively do much, she did pursue illegal books, including some well known titles including The Lord of the Rings and Harry Potter. Some people can get annoyed at references to popular culture in novels, but I thought that this worked well, no reason for it not to. After all dystopias are supposed to represent the potential future of our current society!
Unusually I felt, though very relevant in a story where the dystopia is partly based on love, The Name on Your Wrist does deal with same sex relationships, and not in a prejudiced way. Basically society fully accepted people being gay, but in that case it tended to be gay away from their soulmate, who could turn out just to be a good and close friend. Admittedly this does seem like a little bit of a strange concept (particularly if, like me, you believe that soulmates are soulmates regardless of what kind of gender coupling they are, i.e. a same sex couple can still be soulmates in my mind), but it was good to see that though the rest of society had gone down the drainpipe, acceptance of sexuality was still there.
Speaking of love and romanticism, I really liked the pairing of Corin and Colton, I thought that the way that they interacted and progressed in relationship was really down to earth, and they complimented each other perfectly as characters, I'm eager to find out what becomes of them now! Even more interesting to me to find out is the consequences of Corin's decision. Personally I wasn't surprised which option she went for (after all we'd been in her head for nearly a whole book by that point), but it is still going to be interesting to see what happens next, and what she tells Colton. Saying this, first I have to hope that there is a second book!
I really, really enjoyed The Name on Your Wrist, it was fast paced, interesting, different and all of the characters were far from perfect, which to me made them more than perfect! Well worth a read!