Four hundred years in the future, the Earth has turned primitive following a nuclear fire that has laid waste to civilization and nature. Though the radiation fallout has ended, for some unknowable reason every person is born with a twin. Of each pair, one is an Alpha—physically perfect in every way; and the other an Omega—burdened with deformity, small or large. With the Council ruling an apartheid-like society, Omegas are branded and ostracized while the Alphas have gathered the world’s sparse resources for themselves. Though proclaiming their superiority, for all their effort Alphas cannot escape one harsh fact: Whenever one twin dies, so does the other.
Cass is a rare Omega, one burdened with psychic foresight. While her twin, Zach, gains power on the Alpha Council, she dares to dream the most dangerous dream of all: equality. For daring to envision a world in which Alphas and Omegas live side-by-side as equals, both the Council and the Resistance have her in their sights.
I had high expectations for this book. It doesn’t come out until February or March 2015 (I’ve seen both dates listed) and it’s already been optioned for a movie. The beginning of the book was fascinating, and this is a unique concept for a dystopian novel, but some things just didn’t gel for me.
The pacing during the first half of the book was pretty good, but the second half seemed to drag on. The characters traveled a good bit in the story and much was written about the hardships of that travel – many times. I found it very repetitive and skimmed through those pages.
Cass’s voice pulled me in immediately and I was anxious to learn more about her, but by the end of the book, I felt like she hadn’t undergone much of a transformation – which was disappointing, because so much more could have been done with her character. She repeated the same mantra over and over and it grew tiresome. I’m hoping she’ll have a stronger presence in the sequel.
There were some wonderful plot twists toward the end, but I have to admit – I guessed what they were before the halfway point of the book and they seemed a little obvious. The actions of some characters were inconsistent and, consequently, I didn’t feel the same about them as Cass.
Don’t get me wrong – I’m glad I read this book because the premise is unlike anything else I’ve read and the ramifications of both twins dying if one is killed is very thought-provoking. Maybe I set the bar too high, but The Fire Sermon just came up a little short for me.
This review is based on a digital ARC from the publisher through NetGalley.