As someone who is not naturally drawn to Dystopian/Post Apocalyptic books or films I was somewhat surprised, bordering on shocked, to find E.J. Newman's, '20 Years Later', in my hands. I tentatively opened the first page to find the word 'Prologue' in front of me. Grooooaaaaaan.... I hate prologues! I contemplated skipping it, but I slapped my hand, steadied my eyes and started to read, and much to my surprise I was instantly hooked. The way she introduces the new world and the four, Zane, Titus, Erin and Eve, who saved it, drew me deeper and deeper in. I answered yes to all of the questions she posed. I wanted, no needed, to find out what happened and who these amazing four were.
And so, here we are, it's 2032, 20 years after It happened, and there is no room for pathos here. Set in London, E. J Newman presents her world in a gritty, very matter of fact way. This is how it is. There are gangs who will fight to the death and places you wouldn't dare to go. The teens don't question the fact that no one goes out after dark or that the chaos of abandoned artifacts that surround them once had a use beyond just lying about the place. I love that none of this is questioned because this is, in truth, how most of us relate to our reality. It's just happening, so what? At the beginning no one even bothers about what the It, that killed off most of the population in 2012, even was. It happened way before they were born, it was history that held no interest for them, until the disappearance of Lyssa, that is, which galvanised the four into action. And if you love fast paced, gruesome and sometimes very bloody action, then here it is.
I loved the dream room and watching the four discover their talents was an absolute treat. I loved, once again, the very real drawing of teen characteristics where stuff changes and happens all the time and you quickly get used to it. No big deal!
This is a brilliant book that will draw YA's in and have them begging, like me, for the next book in the trilogy to be released.
But, above and beyond all that, what touched me most about this amazing tale, is the embedded truth that sits like a pulsing red heart at the centre. The truth that It (of course I'm not going to give the game away and tell you what It was) is a very real and treacherous possibility. That there are some people in the world whose insidious need for power may well lead us to this. To It. So heed well YA's, drink deep of this tale, and keep your future beautiful. It's all in your hands. You are Zane and Erin and Titus and Eve - your gifts are plenty. x