Publisher: Self/Plastic Paddy Publishing
Formats Available: Kindle
BLURB from Goodreads
In the Zones, a troubled society walled off from the outside world, nineteen-year-old Dylan lives in the crossfire between rampaging gangs known as hoods, and tyrannical government guards.
Trapped in a brutal reality, he confronts the helplessness of his situation the only way he can—through his art. By day, he takes on the role of protector, caring for his little sister, Lil. By night, he lives a secret life, breaking the curfew and braving the dangerous Zones to paint the perimeter wall with his subversive images. But with the eye of the warden upon him, and the hoods tightening their grip on the Zones, inaction is no longer an option. He must do the one thing no one else has dared to—unite the downtrodden residents and reawaken their hope.
I was sent a mobi file of this book to read by the author. He had heard about my blog from another author who I have worked with and loved her work, Shalini Boland.
The cover is simplistic in that it has a backdrop of graffiti art, with a black circle for the title and author. I don't know whether I like it or not. To be totally honest, if I saw this one on the shelf, it would not be the first book I picked up because of the cover however, when you read the book, the cover then makes sense. The blurb would definitely attract me to the book as I have said on many occasions, dystopian is one of my favourite genres.
The book is set in a place that could sadly exist in a few years time. A troubled, society has been cut off from the outside, so the ill and the trouble maker hoodies are kept away from the main population. Guards prevent people escaping to the outside. the only time you go through the gate is if you are on a work detail at the Ready Meal factory. It's bag breaking mind numbing work but at least you are at the other side of the wall. Your pretty safe as long as you stay on the good side of the guards and the warden. Food is provided in the form of ready meals in boxes to those on the inside, "captive" Zones area. The hoodies fight and steal peoples boxes, money,etc.
The story is set around Dylan, his younger sister Lil, their friend Oscar and his elderly father. Dylan is left looking after his little sister when their parent die, taken by the "illness", they live in a flat in a tower block. Oscar lives a few floors above them in the tower block with his elderly father who is basically existing with his son's help. People trundle on day after day, coping with the monotony and fear, hoping to avoid the hoodies and hoping to stay out of the line of fire of the warden too. The only escapism that Dylan has is his painting. Oscar has a guard "friend" who enables Dylan to send his paintings to the "outside", but where is he sending them? Do they even get there? Does that place even still exist?
There is tension in the zones as the hoodies want more and more from the people, thy take what they want and demand even more. If you don't give what they ask or can't give what they demand you are beaten, often beaten to death. The air is filled with tension as the hoodies demands grow more and more...
Some of then men decide to take a stand, but will it work? What will the repercussions be? How long can people go on living like this. Is there a way of escaping to the outside? Even if there is what is it like outside? Is the art gallery still there that Dylan remembers visiting as a child.
I won't go further as I don't wish to spoil your own voyage of discovery into this book. It's gritty, at times violent, but there's always a sliver of Hope. This book seemed quite short at 151 pages, and I seemed to fly through reading it.
So did I enjoy it? Yes. Would I read a Bk2 or more by Sean Joyce? Yes. Would I recommend? Yes, for all those that love dystopian will certainly enjoy this.
Available at Amazon.co.uk