5 stars This was a pleasant surprise, as I ve never heard of this author before and I picked it up on a whim from a NetGalley offer I would describe this as speculative fiction It feels like it could take place anywhere from ten to fifty years in the future, as climate change accelerates northward European migration and countries such as France have to adjust and react There are a few tech advances described although the story would probably stand up without them.
Each chapter is from the point of view of a different character, many of whom only get one chapter This largely works very well although there are a couple of awkward moments one that jumps out is a character explicitly stating his name and occupation all the other writing feels like natural internal monologue The plot was engaging, the characters all worked, the ending was effective, and it was the perfect length Really enjoyable.
Although sent in the future, within a new world order, where climate change, wildfires and water shortages have triggered mass migration this is a very current novel regarding the subject matter The U.
K is functioning well and is the place people s from Southern Europe head for in this dystopian future.
Told in a series of events in the life of Caleb and narrated from the perspective of multiple voices he comes into contact with on his journey.
Initially travelling with his Mother he is later separated and although only 12 years old he is people trafficked and forced into slave labour The dreams his Mum and Dad of leaving their native Spain and seeking refuge in England are a long way from his reality now But he learns to adapt and adjust to his new situation He is resourceful and this his story of changing, learning and seeing beyond his present circumstances He his young he makes mistakes and people let him down The system works against him but he never loses sight of the new life his parents never saw happen which he needs to fulfil through his own endeavours.
I liked this novel very much It was fresh and although set in the near distant future it seems familiar and pertinent to many issues today I liked the move to an assemble of perspectives through the different voices Each character seemed real and faithful to this time and human because of the flaws they demonstrate.
The writing is character driven with a clear descriptive voice to bring the enclave and aspects of Caleb s journey alive Focusing on family, relationships, self preservation and personal advancement it was almost Dickensian in spirit while mirroring many of the global issues in the present time This allows for reflection and hopefully provides an impetus to avoid such a humanitarian crisis while seeing that the future is with us today.
It is hard to distance yourself from issues of child trafficking, unaccompanied minors and slave labour The aspect of climate change also although obliquely referenced is one we cannot also avoid.
This isn t an tract written by Greta Thunberg however, but a considered novel, told with thought and great skill that focuses on a young child Caleb and his journey may live long in your imagination.
From The Arthur C Clarke Award Winning Author, A Dystopian Novel Of Oppression Set In The Climate Ravaged Europe Of A Calculated Life, A Finalist For The Kitschies Award And Philip K Dick Award Late In The Twenty First Century, Drought And Wildfires Prompt An Exodus From Southern Europe When Twelve Year Old Caleb Is Separated From His Mother During Their Trek North, He Soon Falls Prey To Traffickers Enslaved In An Enclave Outside Manchester, The Resourceful And Determined Caleb Never Loses Hope Of Bettering HimselfAfter Caleb Is Befriended By A Fellow Victim Of Trafficking, Another Road Opens Hiding In The Woodlands By Day, Guided By The Stars At Night, He Begins A New Journey To Escape To A Better Life, To Meet Someone He Can Trust, And To Find His Family For Caleb, Only One Thing Is Certain Making His Way In The World Will Be Far Difficult Than His Mother ImaginedTold Through Multiple Voices And Set Against The Backdrop Of A Haunting And Frighteningly Believable Future, Bridge Charts The Passage Of A Young Boy Into Adulthood Amid Oppressive Circumstances That Are Increasingly Relevant To Our Present Day Twelve year old Caleb is separated from his mother on the way to England as they flee the drought and wildfires of southern Europe Outside Manchester, Caleb is picked up by traffickers, but lands an easy job making bespoke clothing items for a woman who seems kind But after she hits him, Caleb takes another opportunity to escape He hides in the woods, finds another work situation, then escapes again He remains optimistic, learning new trades, deciding to put his trust in only a few adults But making a way in the world as an underage illegal isn t easy.
Bridge 108 is ostensibly a dystopian scifi, but the setting is a backdrop to Caleb s coming of age story Late in the twenty first century, global warming ravages the planet, and refugees flock to England Sprinkles of advanced technology enhance the near future world Caleb misses his opportunity to get brain chipped because his sister is caught vandalizing, making his genes suspect But upon entering the system in England, he accepts the inoculations some say you re not the same person after, but Caleb doesn t mind not feeling so angry all the time, and he doesn t have to worry about becoming addicted to alcohol.
My favorite aspect of the novel is the multiple POVs, with Caleb as the primary storyteller But he s surrounded by a slew of adults, some recurring, some one offs, and their perspectives add a lot of clarity to Caleb s situation It s a complicated world, and the grownups do the best they can, but no one person has the power to fix the problem, and those in the system have even less of an idea how to make things better.
Unfortunately, the pacing and motivation is lacking Caleb runs away, finds a place to stay for a while, then runs away again Caleb suffers from a variety of worldly dangers, but he doesn t have a goal that unifies the plot, so the story feels very meandering and episodic, without any real end point Without any friends or connections, Caleb can only rely on rumors to know what his options are, so he ends up making a lot of decisions quickly but without much expectation.
Recommended for fans of dystopian scifi, particularly with a interest in child trafficking and immigration.
At some point in the future, maybe a decade, maybe a century, an indentured illegal refugee Caleb is sewing shirts up on the rooftop of an apartment building in an Enclave part slum, part suburb ringing aa wealthier city, housing people who are not quite desirable, people who have chosen to not, or not been allowed, to be microchipped with a chip which makes them better citizens, suppressing the urges which make them wasteful and unpredictable members of society Caleb has come from Spain, a country where water is now scarce, hoping for asylum and citizenship in the UK where resources, thanks to recycling, aquaponics and rain, still exist But a child on his own is in danger from nearly all those around him and Caleb has to grow up far too fast to survive Bridge 108 is told by multiple perspectives, each giving us an insight into this at once and unfamiliar England Caleb himself, Ma Lexy who has indentured him, Skylark who first found him, Ma Lexy s gangster brother in law and immigration agents, all linked by Caleb himself, even as they occupy different places and spaces Chillingly prescient and tautly written, this dystopia feels far too relevant as we stare Climate Change in the face whilst policies around refugees get and inflexible Truly a story for our times Recommended.
Thank you to NetGalley and 47North for providing me with an ARC for this book in exchange for an honest review.
Though I did enjoy this book quite a bit, some things really bothered me First of all, this book is told from multiple perspectives but we do have a main character that we see than the others that did not work for me Though I understand the choice as it allowed the reader to get info about the world the book is set in that our mc doesn t know, a lot of it seemed unnecessary and I was just left mostly in the unknown about what happened to all of those characters I would have better enjoyed either a book told from one perspective or a book entirely told from multiple perspectives like the Passage trilogy in the same genre.
Second of all, some parts of the book just seemed added in to explain the rest and I felt that in the writing some parts I thought were well written, not too flowery, just the right amount of description but others were so matter of fact with a bit of drama that was never resolved, where are all the side characters seriously.
To always end a good note, I did like that the story was very character driven and I also quite enjoyed the dystopia aspect of it, which made me think a lot of The Darkest Minds and of the Passage trilogy due to the living in camps situation I also liked the issue of immigration that is very relevant to our society today.
Overall would recommend if you like dystopian and character driven stories but I have read better in this genre.
Thanks to NetGalley for an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.
So, I am a massive dystopian novel lover and always have been I love the many different approaches that folks take, and they often are extremely timely for what is happening in the world.
This story takes place in England after what seems like a major climate crisis throughout Europe It follows the main character, Caleb, and his journey from refugee to human trafficking to escapee, etc and the many folks he meets along the way.
While it was a fairly quick read, I will be honest that I was a little underwhelmed throughout Some elements never really landed and the overall story left me wanting a lot I felt like the characters never really developed and there was very little back story, so that it just felt like a very bare bones outline of multiple perspectives of characters Multiple times I felt like it was building up to something that could be really exciting, but each time I was let down.
In spite of this, it is definitely worth giving a try if you are someone who enjoys dystopian type lit.
From netgalley quick review for the moment was intrigued by the climate change angle so picked it up not YA you don t get the close relationship with the narrator typical of YA, and the narrator is 12 for most of the book super depressingmoral of the story seems to be that view spoiler everything and everyone sucks so you should just go back to slavery hide spoiler I m ready to read any dystopian novel that takes climate change into account.
While the writing was lovely, I think right away I was a little disappointed there there isn t a huge amount of world building in this book I think since it s a dystopian novel, I expected way information about that world what happened, who s been affected, how that has changed society Instead we view the world through the very narrow lens of one kid who lives in an environment that doesn t seem terribly different from our own world For example, hints are dropped about there being a water shortage, but everyone in the story seems to be drinking plenty the kid even works for a time at a fish farm.
However the lack of world building and the fact that Bridge 108 figures such a low stakes role in the whole plot wasn t even the part that bugged me It was the creative choice to switch narrators each chapter At first, I felt like this added a lot of depth to the story, but after awhile it simply became a distraction I wanted to learn about Caleb s story, not that some guy who owns a junkyard likes to have sex in the mornings, or that some Simulant would have LOVED to know about them doesn t like to cook and wants to right an administrative wrong At first, I thoughts all of the distracting changes of perspective would add up to something great, but then I realized that 3 4 of the book was done and we d had little to no forward momentum on the main story At that point in the book suddenly things shift forward 4 years and we never revisit most of those characters we ve spent time getting to know Not sure what the point was in learning their point of view when it seemed to come at the expense of the Caleb and even Ma Lexie , and the main plot of the book Like I said, I didn t hate this book, just found it disappointing Perhaps that s just a personal choice though and others will connect with it better.
Thanks to the author and NetGalley for granting me the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an honest review.