Year 0033, written by J.M Evans, it said at the front, together with an incredible image. I couldn’t wait to start this book. I had ordered it just before Christmas, always a great excuse to buy more books. My older kids are almost teenagers, so definitely time to immerse myself in teenage books, just to check them out, of course. Comes with the job, so to speak. The cover appealed to me, the title was intriguing, so I finally sat down with a copy. First I read the blurb.
“Chella has lived the whole of her life in Area IF208, one of many Areas set up by a new World Council after war, famine and plague cause global devastation.
Religion is banned, supposedly for the sake of world peace, so Chella has to keep her Christian faith a secret.
But when her best friend disappears, her fiancé is arrested, and astonishing rumours of people living Outside surface, a new chapter in her life begins.
Chella is an unlikely heroine, battling a troubled past, a dangerous present and an uncertain future.
“Shine your light into our darkness, Lord, and by your grace protect and deliver us from all evil this night; in the name of your Son, our Saviour Jesus Christ, we pray.”
Never has Chella needed to pray this prayer as much as she needs to pray it now.
And she has no idea how much is at stake.”
I love new names, like Chella and Lavitah, so that was a great start. I don’t normally read fantasy type books, but this did appeal to me. Why? Because of the message that already came through in the blurb. Also, I know the author through social media and had been looking forward to this book. I knew that, although it’s set in the future etc, the book has a Christian message. So, I snuggled up with a drink and some chocolate and opened the book.
The chapters are very short, which means that you get through a lot of chapters in a short time. I couldn’t believe it when I re-emerged to have another piece of chocolate to find I was already on chapter ten. How did that happen?!
Chella is the main character, and we learn more and more about her, sometimes through her looking back, making you simply turn the pages faster, to find out the rest of the story! It doesn’t feel like you’re jumping around though, and transitions are smooth. Some tricky details are dealt with sensitively, making it more attractive for me to share with teens.
Then there are the plot turns and twists. I love twists and turns, but not if they’re too contrived as in, Something bad needs to happen, so what can I do? This was absolutely not the case in Year 0033. When things went wrong, they were well woven into the story, without cheap endings. One of the themes that are woven into the story is forgiveness, and it was lovely to read. It wasn’t glossed over, and Year 0033 shows that mistakes we make have consequences, and that sin leads to grief. It also shows what forgiveness looks like, and how we might feel the need to be forgiven over and over. I loved how Janet brought out that having our sins forgiven by God doesn’t necessarily mean other people will forgive us too.
One of the things I appreciated the most was the overtly Christian message. It’s so wonderful to read about people I can, or would like to, identify with. Of course, there is a place for books where the message of faith and salvation is more subtle, but to read a book with people ‘like me’ is lovely. Everybody likes to read a book with characters they can identify with, and as Christians, I feel this is even more important. Our faith should not be a private, hidden matter, and to read Year 0033 was so encouraging and refreshing. It is set in the future, but there are elements that the writer deals with that speak to our lives now as well. Some of it doesn’t feel too futuristic at all at the moment… it’s quite sobering to wonder which of the characters I would have been in the same circumstances.
Cons: There is one huge negative, sadly… There is no book 2, yet! This book leaves you wondering about the people you have come to know so well, and I simply can’t wait to read more about the other characters, or even Chella herself! We are introduced to some lovely people, some horrendous characters and everything in between, so I can’t wait to find out what their stories will be like.
(This review, as always, is my own honest review. I am not paid to say nice things!)