There's a lot of meat to this "tween" novel. Quite enjoyable and discussion-provoking
The book is set in a dismal future in which religion is gone (not really mentioned but people say, "My odd!" rather than "My God!") and the environment has been destroyed by mankind to kill of the animals. 45 years before the story an animal "plague" caused all of the animals to attack people in a crazed frenzy. So, people retreated to just a few countries (UK, Canada and a few others), became part of a highly stratified society with lots of urban poor forced to live in nasty, poisonous slums and the government wiped out all of the animals by laying waste to the environment and making it a giant desert.
Well, that's the official story anyway.
Potential spoiler alert****************************
What we have here is an excellent book for a classroom discussion of the need to investigate for oneself, the dangers of totalitarian government and the dangers of oligarchy.
You also get some Adam and Eve religious themes and a few jabs at the modern environmental movement. Some may read it otherwise but I couldn't help but notice that the main bad guy is a government minister named Mal Goreman (Al Gore?) who helps to manipulate the media to convince everyone that the animals were dangerous and uses the TV and schools to push his agenda (if you have kids, open up their science books, literature books, math books, foreign language books and any other bit of reading material and see how much "saving the world" has permeated them - I have no problem with recycling, anti-pollution efforts and helping save endangered species but...give it a bit of a break already. Just today I was flipping through the channels and saw commercials for "Green Week" special programming and some NOVA special about glacier melts and multiple PSAs about saving energy in just a few minutes - the media blitz is on). Everyone lives in slums in poverty rather than touch nature, which has to be protected for the enjoyment and use of the enlightened elite.
I rate this book 5 stars out of 5.
This book can be found on Amazon here: The Roar
Reviewed on March 22, 2009