This book is a collection of six short stories by science-fiction writer Veronica Roth that focuses on brief episodes in the lives of characters in different worlds and times. As I read them, I frankly saw them more or less as treatments intended for possible future (or previously discarded) novels instead of as conventional short stories, because I found some of them lacking in adequate world-building and cohesive flow. Some of the stories worked better for me than others.
Story scenarios include such things as (1) a Visitation, at which time someone facing death invites another person to revisit with him/her memories from their past, (2) bounty hunters tracking down leech-like creatures possessing humans, (3) persons known as Hearkeners who are gifted with the ability to hear and transcribe the life and death songs of people, (4) a virtual reality program known as the Elucidation Protocol that allows people to evaluate in advance different outcomes of decisions they must make, (5) trainees in battle planning revenge against a ruling despot and proving their fierceness in strategy and skill, and (6) a son who must reconcile his wildly unorthodox upbringing and mother’s death with his own sense of self. The common theme running through the stories is a transcendent sense of liberation that arrives from finally understanding reasons for the questionable actions of themselves and others.
YA readers who love science fiction will probably find no fault with anything in these stories. There is violence, a few sexual and LGBTQIA references, and some offensive language.
Categories: Differently Abled, Diversity, Dysfunctional Relationships, Dystopian Societies, Fantasy, Mental Health, Navigating through High School, Offensive Language in YA Literature, Parent Conflict, Peer Relationships, Science Fiction, Social Disorders, Supernatural/Occult, Violence, Virtual Reality