Age of Order
The description of Age of Order that enticed me into reading it described the book as somewhat similar to The Hunger Games and Divergent. That is, in fact, the case, as all three books feature a strong-willed heroine with close ties to her family, but I found myself comparing the book more to Red Rising, although I must say I greatly preferred Age of Order.
The novel opens with Daniela Machado trying to flee a drone through the streets of Bronx City, part of the Five Cities that were once New York. It’s a powerful beginning that North uses to great effect, showing not only Daniela’s inner fire but also the conditions under which she lives in the barrio. When she’s offered a place at a private school in Manhattan, it presents a sharp contrast between the world she’s known and the world in which the wealthy reside. Drones are referred to as familiars, for one thing, and they follow their owners around almost like pets. For another, there is no sign of the Waste, a degenerative disease which strikes hardest in the barrios and has affected Daniela’s brother, Mateo. Daniela, quite frankly, couldn’t care less about a fancy private school, but it has a clinic attached to it, one which she can use to try to treat her brother.
Judging from the three books I compared Age of Order to at the start of the review, I think you can guess that not everything’s on the level, with the school or the society at large.
The market is still inundated with dystopian novels, particularly those featuring young women at the center, but Age of Order stood out to me for two reasons. The first is that the protagonist is Latina, which brings a whole new level to the class conflict. The second is that the story was surprising. There were a few twists I could predict simply by being familiar with the genre, but, on the whole, the book was fresh and exciting. I’d recommend this to anyone who’s a fan of YA dystopias. The genre’s still going strong.