Tuesday, September 04, 2012

Fast-Paced, Intriguing and Super Cheap: What's Not to Love About Sulan?

(Image from Barnes & Noble)

Sulan Hom's got everything.  At least compared to most people in San Francisco.  Once upon a time (so her parents say), the city was a flourishing metropolis, filled with happy, well-fed people.  Now, it's a crumbling refugee camp packed to the brim with the starving and desperate.  Vicious gangs patrol the streets.  The Anti-American League, a bloodthirsty terrorist group, bombs targets regularly, destroying food shipments and educational institutions—anything to bring the bankrupt U.S. to its knees.  In the midst of such chaos, the Homs are lucky to have their own apartment, tiny though it may be, in a building protected by armed guards.  They're lucky to get food on a regular basis, lucky to have a life that's as secure as it can be in times like these.  Sixteen-year-old Sulan even gets to attend a virtual high school, the most prestigious one in existence, a place for up-and-coming geniuses like herself.  

Sulan should feel safe, but she doesn't.  Spending all of her time trapped in an apartment building hasn't taught her any street smarts.  Outside, she would be completely vulnerable, as helpless as a kitten.  Although she's more like her scientist father, what Sulan really wants is to be like her mother, a tough ex-mercenary.  Li Yuan refuses to teach her, insisting that the only thing Sulan needs to be concentrating on is her studies.  As Anti-American League violence grows, Sulan knows she can't wait any longer.  She has to learn to fight.  And she will.  No matter what her parents say.

But training in a virtual landscape is different than battling enemies in the real world.  When her family's move to a corporate compound goes horribly wrong, Sulan's new-found survival skills will be put to the test.  A very real, very serious, very deadly test.  With her life on the line, Sulan will use every weapon (literal and figurative) in her arsenal to fight for the things that matter most—family, friendship and fealty to her dying country.    

Sulan (Episode 1: The League), the first book in a new "dystopunk" (dystopian+cyberpunk) YA series by Camille Picott, took me completely by surprise.  To be honest, I wasn't expecting much from this unassuming, self-published novel.  Then I starting reading and, before I knew it, I couldn't stop.  Sulan is an imaginative, fast-paced story that's not just well-written, but well-plotted and well-populated with intriguing characters.  Seriously, I couldn't swipe through screens fast enough to see what was going to happen next.  Is it a flawless novel?  Nope, but guess what?  It's a thoroughly engrossing and entertaining one.  Even better, it's super cheap (just $3.49 on Kindle or Nook), so there's really no reason not to read it.  Trust me, you won't be sorry you did.

(Readalikes:  Hm, I can't really think of anything.  Can you?)

Grade:  B

If this were a movie, it would be rated:  PG-13 for language (no F-bombs), violence and very mild sexual innuendo

To the FTC, with love:  I received an e-copy of Sulan (Episode 1: The League) from the generous Camille Picott via Premiere Virtual Author Book Tours.  

    

3 comments:

  1. Thanks again for taking part in the tour, Susan. I'm so glad you enjoyed the book!

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  2. I gobbled this one up this weekend! I LOVED it! I'm nervous to write my review. I just don't know how to put my love into words! I'm glad you enjoyed it too.

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