The Skyfire Saga: Book 1
Author: Alice Henderson
If you take The Matrix, Mad Max and Armageddon and take some of the more exciting elements from each, you’ve got a good start into Alice Henderson’s Shattered Roads. The book follows the protagonist (and hard to remember name) H124, a citizen of one of the megacities of the future who has the thrilling job of removing dead bodies for incineration. She’s about one step above an automaton, as are most of the people of the cities who spend their days (literally) jacked in to various programming and diversions to keep their mind off of reality. When her job takes her into a restricted area, she discovers that there’s a giant asteroid heading toward Earth in various pieces that will destroy the planet in the next year.
H124 ends up on the run, as she want to warn the world of the impending danger but aside from some rumored scientists on the run somewhere in the world, nobody else is capable of dealing with the problem. To compound the issue, even her revealing it will have the issue of distracting people from their repetitive tasks that keep the mega city running. Along with the aforementioned movies, there’s elements here of Equilibrium, The Fifth Element, and (gasp) Soylent Green. The areas outside of the city are straight out of Mad Max and the worst case scenarios for climate change, overpopulation and hunger are on full display.
I’d describe the genre of this book as dystopian young adult science fiction, with the main character very much being a young woman discovering herself with several potential suitors for her heart. The book is nearly equal parts world building and woman on the run. It’s a nice combination that kept me interested in the story moving forward while developing the rather complex setting. It’s very much a part one of a larger story however, and I would have preferred a bit more resolution of the story. Since I’m down for reading the next book of the series, that’s not the worst thing in the world.