Before I start thrusting page after page of overwhelming word-vomit onto your poor unsuspecting eyes, it’s probably best if I first explain exactly what the book (and the series as a whole) is about. So, let’s set down some framework.
Series Title: 42 (with no correlation whatsoever to The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy [this isn’t actually part of the series title, just so we’re clear])
Book 1 Title: Utopia
Genre & Setting: The genre is post-apocalyptic / dystopian, with dashes of action/adventure, mystery, horror, sci-fi, and pretty much anything else you can think of.
Plot: Rather than fumble through a poor explanation of the plot, I’ve included below the current brainstorm for the book’s back cover summary:
42 is a city residing inside of a giant cube. The Cube’s technology provides its occupants with the ideal conditions for survival. The weather is perfect, the oxygen levels stable, but most importantly, the cube provides protection from an unknown danger that resides outside, looming over the heads of all its occupants. It may have been designed as the perfect city, but inside is another story. Over the years what was once a utopia has degraded into chaos and corruption. The bourgeoisie live behind the walls of a sectioned off community with food and resources to spare, while their security and military forces cleanse the desolate streets of what few survivors remain, dispersed and hidden as they try to survive one day at a time. An organized group of rebels lead the resistance while simultaneously making their own effort to make the city a better place, and the struggle has remained at a fragile standstill for years, with both sides sharing in the dispersion of victories and losses. But the tides are turning. After years of biding their time, a new player is entering the fray, and their intervention may very well steer the course of the entire city, for better or worse. Their actions will set a series of events into motion, events not even they could have seen coming. Everything is about to change. This is the beginning of the end.
Cheesy, right? Keep in mind it’s a work in progress, but I think it covers most of the story’s backdrop and gives you a good sense of what’s going on. Or at least, I hope so. Just remember you’re supposed to be giving me invaluable feedback, so if there’s anything unclear or confusing (besides the things that are intentionally unclear or confusing) this is the part where you tell me.
Characters: The series revolves around several protagonists at once: 9 in the first book and potentially more (or less…) as the series moves forward. Here’s a (somewhat) quick summary of each one:
- Clyde Heartstring is an assassin & bounty hunter, living alone in the city moving from place to place. When necessary he earns supplies and food by assassinating people at the request of various parties, most often the Cleansers. A grim and traumatic childhood casts a shadow over his every moment alive, and results in a complex and warped perspective of the already twisted world around him.
- Andrew Fletcher is a detective with the Rebels and Celia’s twin brother. He has a passion for solving mysteries, a strict moral code that calls for following rules to-the-book, and an overprotective streak when it comes to his sister. His attempts to create a future for himself are weighed down by his past, and before long he finds himself drowning in the debts of others.
- Celia Fletcher is a soldier with the Rebels, and twin sister to Andrew. The complete opposite of her twin, she has a wild and reckless personality which often wreaks havoc on her brother’s attempts at order. As their world comes down around them, she is forced to choose between a light she never saw and the dark which shaped her into a survivor.
- Eric Hader is a Cleanser, rising in the ranks thanks to an unwavering hatred for the enemy, the Rebels. He strives for power, that he may use it to crush his adversaries and with them an unresolved wound from the past, finally fulfilling a promise made long ago. It is only after a freak accident that he begins to question not only his own motives, but everything he has been raised to believe.
- Samantha Ligouri is a Rebel soldier whose stubborn nature and obsession with making a difference clash tragically against the rampant evils plaguing the city. Haunted by her failures and desperate to even the scale, she challenges the limits of her ability time and time again, until things finally go too far.
- Mike Maloney is a Rebel detective, considered the best in his field. His fame is dampened only by his desire to stay out of the spotlight, and his past is shrouded in as much mystery as his present. As the game begins to change he is forced to revisit past tragedies and finally face the daunting task of moving on.
- Patrick Anderson, Mike’s unwilling detective apprentice, begins to look at his life in a new light as an unlikely friendship forms between him and his enigmatic mentor. By learning more about his mentor’s life Patrick is forced to face his own, and determine his role in the world.
- Gabriel is a young teen who, with help from his friend Kaitlyn, uses his knowledge of and talent with technology to retaliate directly against the Government. He is faced with moral dilemmas far beyond his years, and struggles to accept that “good” and “for the greater good” don’t always mean the same thing.
- Victoria is a Scavenger who is imprisoned with several others. Their captor, who initially seems to be nothing more than another deranged lunatic, takes on a far more mysterious and sinister atmosphere as new details come to light. Her own questionable history is put to the test when her seemingly isolated incident suddenly becomes a game-changing event in the fate of the entire city.