The Map of Bones (The Fire Sermon #2) by Francesca Haig (2016)
YA Fiction | DystopianBlurb:
“Book Two in the critically acclaimed The Fire Sermon trilogy—The Hunger Games meets Cormac McCarthy’s The Road in this richly imagined post-apocalyptic series by award-winning poet Francesca Haig.
Four hundred years in the future, the Earth has turned primitive following a nuclear fire that has laid waste to civilization and nature. Though the radiation fallout has ended, for some unknowable reason every person is born with a twin. Of each pair, one is an Alpha—physically perfect in every way; and the other an Omega—burdened with deformity, small or large. With the Council ruling an apartheid-like society, Omegas are branded and ostracized while the Alphas have gathered the world’s sparse resources for themselves. Though proclaiming their superiority, for all their effort, Alphas cannot escape one harsh fact: whenever one twin dies, so does the other.
Cass is a rare Omega, one burdened with psychic foresight. While her twin, Zach, gains power on the Alpha Council, she dares to dream the most dangerous dream of all: equality. For daring to envision a world in which Alphas and Omegas live side-by-side as equals, both the Council and the Resistance have her in their sights.”
Expected Publication Date: May 3, 2016
pooled ink Review:
Thank you to the publisher for sending me a copy to review!
In the wake of a nuclear fire this series revolves around the interesting phenomenon of twins. While twins are uncommon but hardly unheard of, these books explore the idea of a major biological and genetic shift occurring in the human population causing everyone to be born with a twin. How would such an occurrence affect the population and the very fabric of society? Specifically this series explores the common sibling trait of ‘twin rivalry’ and just how far it might go: one twin is perfection while the other is born deformed. That is, until they are faced with the inconvenient reality of when one twin dies, so does the other. Surely this presents a peaceful coexistence as the only option, but they’re humans. Fear comes easily while peace must labor for its place and almost never without a trail of bloodshed behind it…
The Fire Sermon, the first book in the series, unfolds the world of Alphas and Omegas. Society is split between a dominant twin and an inferior twin, both existing in a life filled with unjust segregation. As one might expect the Omegas feel the pressure, burden, and sting of such unjustified abuse and eventually it all boils over to a rebellion coming to a show down between Cass, an Omega/seer, and Zach, her Alpha. The Map of Bones picks up the story in the rebellion’s aftermath opening with Cass dreaming of the departed Kip and the incapacitating vision of “the blast.”
Cass, Piper, and Zoe travel their way west starving, mournful, shunned, and desperate but nonetheless shuffling across the blighted land in search of Sally, an Omega who once successfully infiltrated the Alpha Council, and towards the sea in hope of finding survivor ships that may have returned bearing good news. Their rebellion and sanctuary have been smothered as thick currents of blood trickle between the stones in reminder of the failed island…but change must come, it has to.
Suddenly as the gruff trio search for a plan, Sally reveals a secret document she found while undercover in the Council. It speaks of Elsewhere, written by the Ark. In other words there is potential evidence pointing to a group of survivors from before the Blast and who, if they still exist, may help them fight to topple the Reformer and the General or may even have more information on the twinning phenomenon. But the only clues they have are a partial document and Xander the seer’s repeated cryptic phrase “maze of bones” to which no one is yet sure what he means.
Haig writes a series with a firm grip, understanding, and continued curious exploration into the chain reaction of difference: different is unknown and difficult to understand and this makes people fearful for people like to have understanding which offers full control, without complete knowledge they possess a lack of control and this fills them with fear…fear, resentment, anger, hatred, betrayal, then war. The plot of this book contains lots of planning, enough action, and a plethora of hatred and hope as it plods along at a steady pace. The darkness of humanity is not shielded or sugarcoated but it also cannot negate the power and unyielding force of hope and change.
There is no compromise…Just surrender in stages. -Piper
Gritty, ashen, and complicated The Map of Bones continues The Fire Sermon series with moves and counter-moves as the Alphas clutch their dominance and stroke their blessed reigns of power while the Omegas dig deep into the earth for strength and lift their heads high in resilience. Elsewhere is calling but the blast is coming…
Purchase here: The Map of Bones
Meet Francesca Haig!
Francesca Haig is an author and academic. Her poetry is widely published. Her novel, The Fire Sermon (the first in a post-apocalyptic trilogy) was published 2015 by HarperVoyager (UK) and March 2015 by Simon & Schuster (US and Canada), and is being translated into more than 20 languages. The sequel, The Map of Bones, is coming out in early 2016.
Francesca gained her PhD from the University of Melbourne, and her principal research area is Holocaust literature. She grew up in Tasmania, and currently lives in London.