Snowpiercer meets The Hunger Games in a gripping near-future dystopian.
Welcome to the Arcadia.
Once a luxurious cruise ship, it became a refugee camp after being driven from Europe by an apocalyptic war. Now it floats near the coastline of the Federated States – a leftover piece of a fractured USA.
For forty years, residents of the Arcadia have been prohibited from making landfall. It is a world of extreme haves and have nots, gangs and make-shift shelters.
Esther is a loyal citizen, working flat-out to have the rare chance to live a normal life as a medic on dry land. Nik is a rebel, planning something big to liberate the Arcadia once and for all.
When events throw them both together, their lives, and the lives of everyone on the ship, will change forever . . .
I’m a fan of both the Snowpiercer movie and series, and The Hunger Games is always a favorite. A blend of these comp titles was like a dream come true.
In the year 2094, decades after an apocalyptic war, several cruise ships are still at sea due to the possibility of the passengers spreading the virus to those on land. But after nearly 16,000 days at sea, the Arcadia has remained virus free for the majority of that time. The Federated States, most on the eastern seaboard, have split from the US and don’t want the ships to dock. They send supplies and very limited food rations, but life aboard still isn’t easy. The Arcadia consists of fourteen levels, the lowest controlled by gangs and the top tiers for the wealthy. With a couple generations never having set foot on land, most staterooms are passed down within families. Can I just say the world-building is well-crafted and fascinated me.
Opportunities for a future off the ship are almost nonexistent, but Esther and her sister May are both fortunate to have them – Esther as a medic and May as a soldier. Esther has kept her head down and worked hard so she and her boyfriend, also a medic, can leave the Arcadia and have a normal life. She just didn’t account for Nik and the rebel group. And then everything changes.
I certainly understood Esther’s motives, but I wasn’t her biggest fan at the beginning. She can’t see what’s right in front of her and pays the price for it. By the end, she redeems herself in my book. Nik is my favorite character, and he’s prepared to give his all for the resistance, but suffers a significant loss along the way. Chapters alternate between Esther, Nik, and Hadley’s (a despicable villain) POVs. Pacing is a little uneven, but the last twenty percent is thrilling and moves at warp speed, almost like a domino effect.
The Stranded is a phenomenal debut novel, and I’m anxious to see what happens in the conclusion of this duology. I’d highly recommend it to dystopia/postapocalyptic YA and adult fans.
I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher through NetGalley. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.