Tuesday, May 4, 2010

The Marquisarde

The Maquisarde The Maquisarde by Louise Marley

My rating: 4 of 5 stars
This book was a nice surprise. I was just scanning the sci-fi shelves at may favorite local bookstore, auntie's, when I saw this one, with a sticker denoting it was an autographed copy. When I looked closer, I could see that there was a woman on the cover (and not the stereotypical fantasy heroine, straight out of Wagner). Then I read the synopsis and had to pick it up!

The book is set in the not-too-distant future, where the world has basically been divided into the haves and the have-nots, due to a combination of economic crisis, wars and disease. The haves are loosely organized into an association of nations, and they have drawn a line in the sand, as it were, separating themselves from the poor countries. Those who live in the protected area live much like most of the current first-world nations. Those outside the line, live like the worst of the current third world. There is one small catch, however, for those living in the protected area - the government censors news and controls a global police/army force that maintains border safety (aka kills those who try to enter the protected area, or those who are deemed 'enemies' of the state).

Our heroine, Ebriel, is a conert flutist living in Paris with her husband and daughter - safe, secure and not really concerned about what goes on "out there". However, events occur which cause her to closely examine her government, her beliefs and her very self. She ends up connecting with the resistance - the Maqui, or the Chain - and her world is turned upside down.

I really enjoyed the portrayal of this character, and how she changed throughout the book. She is very believable, and doesn't come across as larger than life. I could see her as a real person. And it's nice to have a mature protagonist, and not th typical teen or twenty-something. :-)

While there were a couple of things I could predict, there were many plot points that I didn't expect, including the ending, which is extremely realistic, and not a sappy, story-book ending (small spoiler: but don't worry - it doesn't have a SAD ending - it just doesn't take the easy, predictable way out.)

In general, this didn't feely "science fiction-y" - the characters seemed real, the world seemed real, the story was believable. I think that even those who don't think they like science fiction would like this book.

The author has written other award-winning books, and I will definitely be on the lookout to pick them up!

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