A. E. Warren’s first offering in the ‘Tomorrow’s Ancestors’ series is set in a dystopian world, one which is somewhat different to our own but which is still, somehow, totally recognisable.
Warren says in her bio that she is interested in the ‘what ifs’ – a trait many great writers have and basically a pre-requisite for speculative fiction (check out José Saramago as an example of both of these). SF is a perfect place for philosophy and shining a light on the human condition, and Warren has come up with a clever way of doing that: a post-apocalyptic Earth governed by a genetically-enhanced elite in which Sapiens (us) are considered a lower class of human, and where recently resurrected Neanderthals are treated as zoo animals.
Not knowing enough about genetics, evolution or anthropology (although I know a bit – I am a geek), I didn’t question the science too much, though I thought that a single genetic trait or characteristic is now believed to be ‘housed’ across several genes (am happy to chat genetics with anyone who can correct me), but would mention that if you’re going into Hard SF territory (gene-splicing), you have to pay particular attention to the clarity of the tech / jargon, or you run the risk of losing some of your audience to inattention, and some to frustration.
I don’t think the series is aimed at a YA audience but it may be better situated towards the older end of that group. It is slightly overwritten in places and could have done with a little tightening up. But I found I was liking the story too much to be massively troubled.
I mean, come on! Sapiens is ruled over by Medius, slightly genetically-enhanced middle-men, like feudal knights and administrators – and Potiors, the super-enhanced feudal lords. Neanderthals are enslaved for simple entertainment. Life is regulated and the state is powerful. The Potiors are considered almost as gods, while the lowly Sapiens are still being punished for destroying the old world with their greed and hubris. Race, class, the subjugation of a people by a quasi-feudal system; cracking stuff.
So, a brilliant premise which I really enjoyed – and I want to find out where the series goes.
Viva la revolution!
What happens when the future recaptures the past?
In a post-apocalyptic world the human race has evolved beyond us through genetic engineering – and we’ve been left behind to make amends for the damage inflicted on the earth.
The reversal of the extinction of long lost animals is key to our reparations and all of these are housed in the Museum of Evolution – along with another species of human that hasn’t existed for 30,000 years.
Elise belongs to the lowest order of humans, the Sapiens. She lives in an ostracised community of ecological houses, built to blend with an idyllic landscape. Deciding to widen her stagnating life in the manufacturing base, she takes a chance opportunity to become a Companion to a previously extinct species of human.
But Elise has secrets of her own that threaten to be exposed now that she is away from the safety of her home. And while living in the museum, Elise realises that little separates her from the other exhibits…
I do not get paid for blog tours or reviews, and this is my honest feedback.