Verdict: FEDERATION CITY is not for younger YA readers with its sexual themes and adult issues, but mature readers will be captivated by a social and political look at human survival in the aftermath of the Toxic Era.
The Federation, a dystopian city thriving in the aftermath of a Toxic Era, starts to unravel as teenage boys begin disappearing from the seemingly peaceful city. Taren Manning sets out to find his missing friend and finds himself kidnapped; kick starting an adventure that caroms into the city’s underworld and nearby Hinterlands.
Taren Manning and his family have a decent life in the beginning of FEDERATION CITY. His mother, Senti, is the ambassador of the upcoming Bicentennial Peace Celebration. Senti begins to suspect corruption when teenage boys are kidnapped including Taren’s friend. While Senti tries to find the boys from within government, Taren searches on his own. Upon discovering a mysterious bearded man, he is kidnapped himself. Taren and the other boys have been taken by handlers from the nearby Hinterlands and forced to labor in the fields. In a startling twist, Taren discovers why the men in the city have no facial hair. The Federation uses chemical means to suppress testosterone, which successfully pacifies the population and has done so for the past 200 years. Traditionalists in the Hinterlands believe this is against their Prophecy and kidnap boys, wean them off the chemicals, and return them to biological manhood. The story takes a dark twist when the Taren and the other boys are transferred to an underground facility known as the Big House. The Big House, run by the ruthless Vegas, offers an alternative to the Federation’s tactics. As Taren uncovers the truth, he begins to formulate a plan to escape. The rest of the story is a captivating, and unsettling, twist that should not be spoiled.
Author D.A. Clark provides a unique take on the dystopian genre. FEDERATION CITY may be geared toward YA readers, but there are very mature issues at play. A controversial twist involves the kidnapped boys, free from the chemical suppression of the Federation, functioning as mere sexual playthings for the clientele of the Big House. However, that twist is important to the story and is masterfully written. While the adult themes are present, Clark offers enough clarity for the reader to follow without veering into overwrought eroticism. Adult themes, careful plot pacing, vibrant characters, and snappy dialogue balance on a knife’s edge that grab the reader for a rollercoaster ride. Minor typos and formatting hiccups detract little from an otherwise skillfully written adventure. FEDERATION CITY is obviously the first in a series that has potential to rival some of the best YA dystopian novels.
FEDERATION CITY is not for younger YA readers with its sexual themes and adult issues, but mature readers will be captivated by a social and political look at human survival in the aftermath of the Toxic Era.
ISBN: 1460235150 Publisher: FriesenPress
US SRP:$ 16.99 US Binding: Paperback
Pub Date: February 26, 2014 Copyright Date: 2014