A dystopian novel with a twist. Where everything is a commodity, what is the price for love?
The City is governed by the grim law of profit and loss. No exceptions, no place for compassion, pleasure, the warmth of friendship or the ardour of love. David, an Enforcer committed to the Law, meets Sarah, a villager from outside, and begins to understand that a different, more joyful, life is possible.
A Kinder City tells the story of their tangled relationship and of how they fall in love, and of their struggle against Franklin, the richest man in Market World. If the only law is the market, why not sell everything – and that includes the air we breathe, the land we stand on, the water we drink? No exceptions. His giant factories spew forth the road beasts – the huge machines that devastate the lands beyond the City in pursuit of yet more wealth. Not content with cloning animals, he traps horses in exo-skeletons and works them to death. Torn between her growing passion for David and her revulsion at the City that he is pledged to protect, Sarah turns her back on him.
In despair, he confronts one of the convoys supplying Franklin’s mills and releases the horses trapped within the giant trucks. Pursued by terrifying security guards they escape to the Broken Lands and witness at first hand the desolation that results from ruthless strip-mining and industrial farming driven purely by greed, and the misery of the remaining villagers. In their struggle to survive and return to the City they discover the power of their love for each other. Sarah challenges Franklin to his face and, helped by David, sparks off rebellion among the poor of the City. Together they defeat Franklin. He must learn what it means to be destitute and alone in Market World. The possibility of building a kinder City lies within their grasp.
Whew! This book took me on a rollercoaster! The book opens with the introduction of David and Sarah and it is clear not all is as it seems.
I enjoy books where there’s more to it than just a romance story. The wristbands that everyone in the Market City has to wear to denote their worth really intrigued me and it intrigued me that literally everything was a commodity, even something like a wet cloth to clean yourself with!
Sarah and David go on a journey to dismantle the hierarchy that they are part of, that David was deeply engrossed with and Sarah was benevolent about.
When everything tumbles down around them and they have to flee, thye discover a whole new world of poverty and unhappiness. It really tugs at the heartstrings!
Peter writes wonderfully, and the plots are perfectly told in a way that you don’t realise how entangled everything is until the last few chapters.
A very tense story, with political intrigue, dystopian undertones and environmental issues arising from overfarming. A great book that I’d highly recommend.
Thanks to Zooloo’s Book Tours and Peter Taylor-Gooby for a copy of the book in exchange for an honest review.