I love dystopian fiction, so I was so very intrigued by the premise of this book. It’s certainly a cautionary tale about the role of technology in our society and the evils of totalitarianism. There’s also an engrossing mystery and a very captivating main character. Although this is somewhat of a dark and gritty read, I think it would also be riveting for any young adult readers in your life.
The story centers around Sonya Kantor, now confined to the Aperture, a prison-like apartment complex. She was once the symbol of the previous ruling government as the face of their propaganda posters which bore the ominous slogan, “What’s Right is Right”. Of course, that meant spying on your neighbors, behaving in a way acceptable to the totalitarian regime, and limited to one child only per family. “Good” behavior was rewarded with “DesCoins”.
The old government has now been overthrown and Sonya has lost her family in the uprising. Sonya still has the “Insight” embedded in her eye, which is leftover technology from the old regime. The Insight was a direct link to the government and also provided instant history or descriptions of what the person was looking at. Scary stuff, and not such a reach from our present-day technology.
Sonya is somewhat conflicted about her past, angry and sad at the loss of her family and friends but yet confused about the new world order. She believes she can atone for her family’s crimes against humanity by helping her old friend Alexander find a missing child who had been “re-homed” (i.e., stolen) from her birth family. It is difficult for her to move among the populace without being constantly harassed since everyone knows who she is.
“She’s never been aware of her own expressions—on the day of the photo shoot, she thought she looked soft and contemplative, but the result, on the poster, was a cold declaration. What’s right is right, the text mirrored in her expression. Even after over a decade, she’s still startled by the discrepancy between her insides and her outsides, how no one can see the tumult of her.”
The author does a wonderful job at world-building, combining real landmarks in the Pacific Northwest with futuristic and imaginative creations such as the Insight and the Elicit. There are many timely issues raised by this story and I enjoyed the mystery element, but I just would have liked a little more character building. Overall an interesting and very creative story.
(Many thanks to the publisher for providing an advanced copy via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.)
About the Book:
WHAT’S RIGHT IS RIGHT.
Sonya Kantor knows this slogan–she lived by it for most of her life. For decades, everyone in the Seattle-Portland megalopolis lived under it, as well as constant surveillance in the form of the Insight, an ocular implant that tracked every word and every action, rewarding or punishing by a rigid moral code set forth by the Delegation.
And then there was a revolution. The Delegation fell. And its most valuable members were locked in the Aperture, a prison on the outskirts of the city. And everyone else, now free from the Insight’s monitoring, went on with their lives.
Sonya, former poster girl for the Delegation, has been imprisoned for ten years when an old enemy comes to her with a deal: find a missing girl who was stolen from her parents by the old regime, and earn her freedom. The path Sonya takes to find the child will lead her through an unfamiliar, crooked post-Delegation world where she finds herself digging deeper into the past–and her family’s dark secrets–than she ever wanted to.
With razor sharp prose, Poster Girl is a haunting dystopian mystery that explores the expanding role of surveillance on society–an inescapable reality, even if cracked.