“We're going to get out of this and make them pay!”
After a financial collapse devastates the United States, the new government imposes a tax on the nation’s most valuable resource—the children.
Surrendered at age ten—after her parents could no longer afford her exorbitant fees—Vee Delancourt has spent six hard years at the Mills, alongside her twin, Oliver. With just a year to freedom, they do what they can to stay off the Master’s radar. But when Vee discovers unspeakable things happening to the younger girls in service, she has no choice but to take a stand—a decision that lands her on the run and outside the fence for the first time since the System robbed her of her liberty.
Vee knows the Master will stop at nothing to prove he holds ultimate authority over the Surrendered. But when he makes a threat that goes beyond what even she considers possible, she accepts the aid of an unlikely group of allies. Problem is, with opposing factions gunning for the one thing that might save them all, Vee must find a way to turn oppression and desperation into hope and determination—or risk failing all the children and the brother she left behind.
It would be easy to say that it is great, for a premier novel. But I won't give it that allowance because, frankly, it doesn't need it. The Surrendered is a great book whether it's Case Maynard's first or fiftieth. I am likely one among many who anticipate her future works with great anticipation. Especially for what has been presented in her first foray into authorship.
I was refreshed with the how the world presents. While futuristic high-tech societies and post-apocalyptic wastelands make for acceptably entertaining environments for a dystopia, they can become a bit worn through. I didn't realize I had become bored with it until I read this book. Maynard sets a completely different stage. The story begins several decades after a complete economic collapse of the United States. The economy is mostly agrarian, with only some post-industrial technology available to the highest priorities. While the country is now well organized and somewhat stable, it is not thriving. This scenario strikes a balance between two predominate themes in dystopian novels, and I appreciate it.
The storyline is executed well. It does not feel formulaic or contrived. The story flows well between chapters and holds the kind of surprises that most readers can appreciate. There sensory details, dialog, action, and internal narrative are well balanced and timed. The only criticism I can offer for the entire book, is that Maynard should have resisted the urge to draw so much attention to Jane's strange behavior. It is fun be uncertain of whether a character's strange behavior is just an aberration, or something to be watching out for. To the author's credit, the reason behind Jane's stony responses was still surprising, but I would rather have not been certain that a surprise was coming. Otherwise, Maynard maintained a reasonable trust in the reader's ability to glean the implications of character's actions.
The characters! I was angry for them. I was angry at them. I fought, laughed, and cried with them. Some are inescapably hatable, while others you hope can be redeemed. There is an element of romance, but it is not the basis or drive to the story. It feels natural in its interaction with the plot. That is to say: the plot is not drawn to accommodate the romance. Instead the romance reacts to the plot. For many this may feel like an insufficient explanation of the characterization. But I do not know how to talk about them without giving far too much away. Just read it, and you'll see what I mean. I know that I have become attached to the characters, and sincerely wish for this to become the first of an amazing series.
about the author:
With over 20 years’ experience in the legal and medical fields, Case Maynard decided to trade in her briefs and reports to write the stories that have been floating around in her head since childhood. She lives with her two teenagers and husband in South Georgia, while maintaining a long-distance liaison with her oldest daughter and partner in crime in Alaska. When not writing, she enjoys reading as often as possible, binge watching anything good on Netflix, and all things NCAA football (Go Noles!). You can learn more about Case and her stories on her website.
I love books! For most of my life I have been reading them, and giving my insights to friends and family. This blog is for sharing that passion with the many others that love books too.