Hope's Daughter by Melanie Cusick-Jones
Author: Melanie Cusick-Jones. Website, Twitter
Published: 1 December 2011 (Bookbaby)
Buy: Amazon: Kindle Kobo Store: e-book
Source: Received free copy from author to review.
Plot Summary: (from Goodreads)
Life should be simple for Cassie.
For the small population of Earth survivors who live on the Space Station Hope everything they do is planned and scheduled, down to the cyclical food menus, their roles in the station, even how many children they have.
Despite rigid controls directing her life, Cassie feels more out of synch than ever and worries she won’t find a place for herself within the station community. Perhaps that’s because she’s hearing things inside her head that can’t possibly be real. Or maybe it’s the regular elopements of her peers, heading off to a romantic future in the Married Quarter of the space station, whilst she’s never even been attracted to a boy – no matter how hard her best friend Ami pushes them at her. Then there are the odd questions her work placement partner Balik keeps raising. His questions are just as troubling for her as his distracting smiles and eyes that seem to see inside her.
I was very kindly sent a copy of this book to review after expressing interest in the book to the author. I love dytopian/post-apocalyptic YA novels so Hope's Daughter really appealed to me. The book tells the story of Cassie, who has spent all of her live on the space ship SS Hope. When she starts a work placement she finds herself spending more and more time with Balik, and together they begin to discover more about the strange, isolated life they've come to know.
I really liked the beginning of this book and the concept was fascinating. I loved the futuristic lifestyle of the space ship and the slightly creepy nature of Cassie's world. Everything is rigorously controlled, from their meal times to what their homes look like and you got this sense that something wasn't quite right. I was so wrapped up the whole idea of the ship and how it worked. It was brilliant. The mysteries throughout the book had me really intirigued and I couldn't wait to find out what exactly was going on.
The story focusses a lot on the relationship between Cassie and Balik. Cassie finds herself being drawn to him despite never having spoken much to him in the time they've been at school. I thought Balik was a really interesting character and he balanced out Cassie perfectly. He's all logic and science whereas she struggles to question the things around her. I did have some problems with their relationship, the main one being that there was far too much flirting! The spend so long in each others' company just talking as Cassie tries to figure out her feelings for him. It just felt like they went around in circles for a bit.
There were a few other issues I had with the overall pacing. The beginning was fine and I was completely hooked, but towards the middle of the book some chapters felt quite slow when Cassie was trying to figure things out on her own. There were some moments where I had to wait a long time to find out something I'd wanted to know chapters ago. Whilst those bits dragged a bit I had the opposite problem towards the end of the book. There was a lot of information crammed in in a short space of time which could maybe have been revealed more slowly. I found myself a little confused at times.
I was won round by the ending though. When the reveals came it was totally not what I was expecting! I'm definitely going to check out the next book because I need to know what happens.
I'd recommend this book if you like all things dystopian/post-apocalyptic. Whilst felt a little slow in places, it's definitely a story worth sticking out til the end.
What to read next: Outlanders by Melanie Cusick-Jones, the unreleased sequel to Hope's Daughter.
Books like this: Matched by Ally Condie, The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness.