I'm reading this series for my youth (screening) so they can do a report (to make sure they read them). As a fan of Ted Dekker, Dee Henderson, Frank Peretti, I have surprisingly enjoyed these books thus far. I have the whole series and am really enjoying it. I would recommend it!!
It is decades in the future. The climate disasters, the wars - all of it was so devastating that now there is the A. U., the American Union. It includes what used to be Canada and Mexico. The political system emphasizes unity. People take the Pledge and get the Mark.
Logan will be thirteen in a few months. He'll take the Pledge and get the Mark on his birthday. Then he will be free, free to shop, go to concerts, get a job, and use public transportation. But Logan is worried. When his older sister went to get her Mark, she never came back. His parents were told she had died. It happens. Some young people just don't take the procedure well. Will Logan be one of those who never returns?
Another reason Logan is worried is that he is sure someone is spying on him. He sees shadows and hears noises. Who are they and what do they want?
This is the first in a new youth fiction series. I'll be blogging a review of the third novel in a few weeks and wanted to get current with the story. This novel is a great start. There is a union between the A. U. and its European counterpart in the works. The Mark is required to function freely in society. But there are also some people in the shadows, the Markless. They have to scrounge for their existence. There is no mention of religion nor churches. Yet there are people who wear a charm, hidden under their clothing. That charm reminds them of an earlier day.
Youth will like this series, I think. There is great technology - tablets that do everything. There is a young hero who wants to stand up for what is right and true. But it is all overshadowed by DOME, the enforcing agency of this future system.
This series takes place in an undisclosed year, but it's off in the future (one would hope, far off in the future). A great war has taken place and rebuilding efforts are underway as the government authorities strive for unity by forcing everyone to pledge their allegiance to "Union" leaders by receiving a tattoo (mark) on their thirteenth birthday. The mark is used for identity, commerce, and pretty much everything else in a desolate world. It is the mark of the citizen and it is a privilege (albeit a mandated privilege).
However, some choose to avoid the mark. There are outlaws who have refused the mark and, as we're told, kidnap and recruit others to join their cause - whatever that may be. This group, referred to as "the dust" and other derogatory names, has been relegated to the margins, having no legal way to provide for themselves or participate in society (other than as servants). A third group of society are those who have attempted to obtain the mark and have somehow failed. These individuals are considered to have been "swiped" from society and they're never heard from again.
Okay, so this is the world in which we meet Logan Langley, a paranoid 12-year old on the verge of getting his mark. The thing is, he's not sure he wants the mark. His older sister had been "swiped" from society a few years ago and ever since, Logan believes he is being watched. Adding complication and explanation, Erin moves across the country with her father (who does critical and confidential "government" work for a living). Together, Erin and Logan stumble upon a conspiracy plot that propels the story along at a breakneck pace.
As Logan's day of pledging approaches, he must determine if he wants the mark, if he's truly at risk of danger, and if his sister is still alive, despite what the authorities have said. SWIPE is a thrilling tale of tough choices and close calls that will keep you guessing until the end. There are certainly some underlying social commentaries at play here that begin to come to light, but it's never preachy or uncomfortable to read at all. There are Biblical parallels to find or ignore at your discretion, but the focus is rightly placed on the characters, their emotions, and the overarching plot.
I began reading the second novel in this series first, which was a mistake. It kept me confused about the meaning of several tools they use. So, I picked up Swipe, and totally entered this dystopian world of the future of evolved technologies and one world vision. After the "Total War" everybody is thankful just to be allowed to live, and doesn't examine the requirements of the leaders. Each person must swear their allegiance and then they receive a tattoo like marking on their arm that allows them to function in society. When Logan's sister dies when she goes in to make her pledge, Logan's family begins to fall apart, and Logan believes that he is being watched.
I definitely think that this series should be a hit with middle school and older students. The writing is tense enough that you will check over your shoulder to make sure you are not being watched. The book is clean, but the sense of Ã¢â¬Ëbig evil government' permeates the story. A must read for dystopian lovers, as well as those who enjoy a good mystery.
In a future North America, after a global war and global treaty for peace, a mark is given to every person when they turn the age of 13. Having this mark allows one to buy things, get a job, and other benefits of a citizen. Actually, most have the mark. There are some, called the dust who are markless and are not considered part of normal society. This book follows three kids who are caught between the government who wants them to have the mark and the dust who wants them to know the truth behind the secrets the government is hiding.
The story is exciting and action packed. It is a fast paced read and any tween or teen would like reading this book. The character development, although quick for some, still gives the reader enough about each of the main characters to help know them better. I did enjoy reading this!
I do have to add that, although this is intended for young teens, I simply cannot get past the fact that the dialog between the 12 and 13 year old's seems off. As I am reading this I feel that I am reading dialog from 18, 19, and 20 year old's. My opinion would be that the age of these characters should have been set to that age vs. 12 and 13, which if done so would make this story that much more believable. I simply do not know too many teens that talk like the characters in this book do.
Note: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze.com book review blogger program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255 : "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."