Monday, August 31, 2015

Book Review: "Boys of the Fatherless" by David C. Riggins

Although it only runs less than 200 pages, David C. Riggins' Boys of the Fatherless packs a powerful, thought-provoking punch.

In a dystopian society in our future, the country is divided into zones, which are managed by "fear and intimidation." Martial law exists, carried out by security drones armed with infrared cameras and nine-millimeter shotguns, which they are more than quick to use. The lower the zone number, the lower on the societal food chain you are; those who live in Zone N-1, or "Fatherless," are those families whose fathers have been killed or who have abandoned their families.

When Danny Roberts' father abandons him, his bipolar, promiscuous mother, and two sisters, their family is sent to Fatherless. But Danny is determined not to let his life be doomed despite the fact that his teachers don't think he'll amount to anything, his mother barely cares about him, and the threats of violence around him could take him down a dangerous path.

"I felt like a kind and gentle boy who had been thrown to the wolves with two options, adapt or be devoured. I adapted."

Danny tries to find joy in the simple things—his two best friends, Jessie and Sam; his girlfriend, Sarah; and the attentions of Darius, an old friend of his father's, who is determined to look out for Danny and be sure he makes something of his life. But when the deck is stacked against you from the start, can you beat the odds? Are love and friendship enough to save you?

This was a very intriguing, well-written book, although at times the plot moved so quickly I felt like I missed things. There is a lot of emotion in this book, and the undercurrent of loss throughout is tremendously poignant. The characters are really interesting and have stayed in my mind, and I can't stop thinking about this story and some of the surprises it held.

Boys of the Fatherless is unique and not at all what I expected. Riggins is a talented writer, and he has created a fascinating world that I'd like to spend more time in, and I'm pleased that it appears the book is the start of a series.

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