Monday, October 11, 2010

Light Raid by Connie Willis and Cynthia Felice

Light Raid by Connie Willis and Cynthia Felice

Hardback, Published 1989, 229 pages.

Set in a future North America where America is in a civil war. Protagonist Hellene Ariadne was sent to Victoria to escape from the dangers of the war, but she runs home when she has the suspicion that something has happened to her dad. She finds out her house has been destroyed by a light raid, her dad is in shock, and her mom is in jail, arrested for suspicion of sabotaging the war. What follows is an intense thrill ride full of twists and turns.

The book kept me guessing. I wasn't sure whether Ariadne's mom was guilty. I didn't know who to trust. I enjoyed following Ariadne on her journey as she put the pieces together and reacted to everything.

The book went a little too fast. I think that in exchange for the action and fast pace, the authors sacrificed some character development. Ariadne was a very likable character - smart, stubborn, quick-thinking, proactive. But the other characters - her dad, Essex, even Joss - remained one-sided. I like the romance, though.

A few things I could learn from this book:

Setting. I don't know what kind of preparation there was for this setting, but it seemed like they had everything figured out. How HydraCorp worked, the science of the future, the transportation, all of it. I lack this kind of detail in stories that take place anywhere other than our regular earth. At the same time, they just dropped in words like we knew what they were. Of course, I wouldn't want big info dumps or explanations about everything, but a lot of things, I didn't know what they were talking about, and just tried to make up an equivalent. For example, jams? Or those jeans? When I first read the words, I thought of pajamas, but I knew that couldn't be it.

Active vs. Passive Character. Ariadne was taking charge in the first chapter. I knew she was going to be one of those characters who didn't wait around for what she wanted. And I was right; all through the book, she actively does things to move the plot along. I've heard this a lot in writing classes: your character should be proactive, not reactive. I think Ariadne was a good example of this.

If you'd like a quick, fun read, check out Light Raid!

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