Title: Resistance (Divided Elements #1)
Author: Mikhaeyla Kopievsky
Reviewer: Shelley Russell Nolan
Synopsis: From the moment you are born, you are conditioned to know this truth: Unorthodoxy is wrong action, Heterodoxy is wrong thought. One will lead to your Detention. The other to your Execution.
Two generations after the Execution of Kane 148 and Otpor’s return to Orthodoxy, the Resistor’s legacy still lingers.
In this future, post-apocalyptic Paris, forbidden murals are appearing on crumbling concrete walls – calling citizens to action. Calling for Resistance.
When Kane’s former protege, Anaiya 234, is selected for a high-risk undercover mission, Otpor is given the chance it needs to eliminate the Heterodoxy and Anaiya the opportunity she craves to erase a shameful past.
But the mission demands an impossible sacrifice – her identity.
While the growing rebellion will change the utopian lives of all Otpor’s citizens, for Anaiya it will change who she is. As the risk of violence escalates and every decision is fraught with betrayal, will Anaiya’s fractured identity save her or condemn her?
Review: With the mention of the main character being a Fire Elemental on the first page, I originally thought this book was going to be an urban fantasy about elemental magic. Instead, I soon discovered it to be a rich and thought provoking dystopian where the inhabitants of Otpor are conditioned from birth to act according to the element they are aligned with. Each element comes with set personality traits, which for Anaiya means she values strength and agility over compassion. Emotional attachments are not part of her life as a Peacekeeper charged with making sure the other elementals conform to society standards in both thought and deed. She thinks nothing of breaking the arm of an elemental to be detained or restrained, until she is called on to go undercover as an Air Elemental, those conditioned to be creative.
After a harrowing realignment process, she is sent off the secret mission to uncover the leaders of the growing Resistance, a crime punishable by execution. But for Anaiya, the mission becomes a trial of identity as she begins to question who she is and how her world works. With Air traits distracting her from her mission, she is seduced by the world she now inhabits, finding unexpected beauty in what she discovers. After witnessing Peacekeepers brutally take down some of the Air elementals she has come to know, the dichotomy between her Fire and Air sides has her questioning what she believes is right.
This is not a light read to be devoured in one go and then forgotten. This story is one that brings to light the deficiency of a system that sees people categorised and brainwashed to fit a society ideal. Any departure from their conditioning will be punished, but with Anaiya now torn between two elements she is in danger of becoming the very thing she was sent to eradicate. As her relationships with those suspected of being part of the Resistance strengthen, she will be forced to chose between what she has been taught and the truths about her existence she is only just coming to understand.
In all, this is a fascinating insight into a possible future, giving a terrifying glimpse of what might come from segregating people into certain types and punishing anyone who does not conform. I am looking forward to seeing what happens next in book two of the series, Rebellion.
Rating: 5 stars
Connect with the publisher http://www.kyrija.com/
Connect with the author http://mikhaeylakopievsky.wordpress.com/
Follow Mikhaeyla on facebook: https://www.facebook.com/MikhaeylaKopievsky
As of October 2018, this book is available for free on Amazon.
About Aussie Speculative Fiction: We are a community of Australian readers and writers of speculative fiction, particularly aimed at supporting Indie writers.
If you are a writer of Australian Speculative Fiction, join us here