Does the world really need another Young Adult, Science Fiction ,Dystopian Future series? Like a silver mine that’s played out, you’t not think there’d be any new seams left to explore. However, God’s Rough Drafts by Rob Scott, published by Red Dash Board Books, proves that’s not the case.
Scott has taken the dystopian future theme and made it all to real. He’s depicted a world where the gap between rich and poor has widened to such an extent that almost everything is marketable. Where today people might sell organs on the black market, in Scott’s future world its a legitimate, and big, business.
However, it’s not just organs that are marketed but body parts as well. While it’s not a stated policy, a natural outcome of this new market is the poor are now a well of replacement parts for those with income. If you have an interesting coloured eye you’ll be in demand. When a poor person sells a part, they’re given the equivalent of an off the rack part as a replacement.
So now there’s a new class distinction. Those who can afford upgrades and those who walk around like pieced together survivors of a particularly bad train wreck. However, an unforeseen side effect of this harvest is some of the donors develop unexpected powers. While nobody is quite sure what combination of drugs and replacing body parts induces these mutations, they do know once the new powers manifest, further surgeries will render them useless.
So when 17 year old Fallon Westerly is framed for murder and sent to a “correctional facility” her biggest concerns are keeping her talents hidden and avoiding another harvest at all costs so she can keep them. Of course bring all the undesirables together and they will quickly find allies, and Fallon is no exception. Inside she meets Danny Hackett and Emma Carlisle, two teens who are also gifted.
Utilizing their abilities the three teens manage to escape from prison. However, it’s only when they’re on the run do they realize how much danger they’re really in. Not only are the regular police forces sent after them, but strange distorted mutations the powers that be have created are also sent to track them down.
It gradually dawns on them that it wasn’t just a coincidence three people with “1 in 12 million” powers were imprisoned together. They were framed for a reason – so their powers could be brought under the control of the central authority.
While much of this might sound like the same old young people fighting a corrupt and dangerous system story line, it’s what Scott has done with it that makes God’s Rough Drafts interesting. Not only has a created three very appealing characters for us to follow, but the world he has them struggling through is all too familiar.
Unfortunately it’s easy to see how our current world could evolve in this direction. The few wealthy are supported by a massive oppressed underclass which is kept in line with false promises of possible reprieve and a heavily armed and militarized police force.
Scott has also made the story more compelling than the usual with his introduction of elements from both the horror and gothic horror genres. In fact he’s reached back to ideas first floated in 19th century fantasy novels to give the story some added spice. (Think Robert Louis Stevenson)
When this is combined with three lead characters who are remarkably intriguing, mysterious villains who are creepy and interesting in just the right mixture, and a plot that will keep you guessing as to what will happen next, it makes for a book that’s hard to put down.
All in all Rob Scott’s God’s Rough Drafts takes the overworked Young Adult Dystopian Future Fantasy genre and gives it a good shake. The result is an amazing adventure featuring three compelling heroes, frightening villains and an eerily familiar society. You won’t be able to put it down and will be left wanting more.
(Originally posted at Blogcritics.org as Book Review: God's Rough Drafts by Rob Scott)
Richard Marcus is the author of two commissioned works published by Ulysses Press, editor in the books section of Blogcritics.org and contributor at Qantara.de. He has been writing since 2005 and his work has appeared in publications all over the world including the German edition of Rolling Stone Magazine.