Once Locke and Kara realize they are merely shelf models for Gatsbro’s illegal money-making venture (and that he will never let them go and make lives of their own), they decide to make a run for it. That’s where the story really begins. Locke and Kara must learn to navigate this new world that they know nothing about and deal with the emotional turmoil that accompanies their existence. Naturally, they decide to find Jenna.
The story is told entirely from Locke’s point of view in a taut, fast-paced first person present tense. I complain constantly about how sick I am of first person present tense, but Pearson used it well in Adoration and she does so again here. The pace is fast and the surprises are many, just how I like my dystopias.
In Adoration, Pearson created a future world more advanced than our own, but not entirely different. In The Fox Inheritance, she’s hurtled us much further into the future and let her imagination run with it. In future America, there are two Americas split not on physical lines, but ideological lines, and those who don’t commit to one or the other are outcast. (Texas is also its own country, and while I find it amusing that so many science fiction and fantasy writers decide to do this, I also don’t want to give people here any more ammunition, so can we please place a moratorium on this for awhile?)
There are also robots (“bots”) all over the place that are used to help humans with a variety of everyday operations – driving cabs, shining shoes, serving food, and so on. The bots are so advanced that they seem human, but they’re tightly regulated. Dot, the bot who drives the cab Locke and Kara escape with, isn’t even built with a lower body since it’s not deemed necessary for her function. Naturally, many of these bots seem human in many respects and yearn to be free.
There are also a ton of other little details that make the world seem truly futuristic, like the freeways that automatically direct the cars and the communicator built into each person’s palm. I loved all of these details, even if I felt that not all of them worked completely (the strange split in the country is particularly weak).
There’s a lot more that Pearson does well here. She gives the reader a good sense of the horror Locke and Kara must have felt trapped in limbo for 260 years. Jenna 260 years later is realistically adult and wise, though her body looks as young as ever. And Locke’s and Kara’s anger and confusion and grief over their situation are heart-wrenching.
Sometimes Pearson’s plotting is predictable, but it’s always exciting and well-written. I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend this to fans of the first book and dystopias in general. It’s a fast, fun read that also makes you think a little – what more can you ask for?
Review copy received from the publisher. The Fox Inheritance is on shelves now.