The Flow is written as a thriller but at its core are serious and timeless social and political concerns. The pace of writing disarms the reader who might think that such serious subjects are boring. Not here they aren’t, it is written in the style of Anthony Horowitz so will undoubtedly appeal to a 2014 teenager.
It rather chillingly describes a Society a few years after an all too believable economic collapse and popular reaction to it which allows a fringe political party to legitimately gain power and then to illegitimately retain it. The mores and values of Society, what they should be and how it should be run, are articulated by a charismatic leader and enforced by the 'Party'. The Party uses technology to control information and technological brainwashing techniques for social conditioning. Control is maintained through a universally enforced belief system, a kind of pseudo religion. It is Aldous Huxley's Brave New World with overtones of Orwell's 1984 but written for teenagers.
The heroes are a group of young people who gradually and bravely work out what ‘the Party’ is doing against a background of a contagious epidemic which cannot be treated because the Party has abolished science as challenging its belief system and therefore its control. How the heroes do this and how they successfully challenge and overcome medieval ideas about causes and treatment of disease to save their fellow citizens is related at a breathless pace.
The Flow is both current and timeless in its choice of theme and pitched exactly right for its market.
The Flow is definitely a ‘page turner’; I promise that you will not be able to easily put it down.
This book is intended for youngsters but will certainly appeal to an adult audience looking for an adventure yarn with intelligence and relevance. It is a masterclass in how to make science cool and exciting and contains all the ingredients of both a thriller and a fun biomedical lesson – truly, Famous Five for the 21st century. Besides speaking directly to intelligent teenagers, it will surely strike a genuinely disturbing chord in grownups, with its chilling portrayal of an Orwellian dystopia which certainly made this reader shudder (1984 meets the Matrix?). I defy any bright youngster to put it down. And not to be inspired by the power of science, and of knowledge. Great stuff.
I loved this fast paced adventure which kept me captivated from beginning to end. I am not a great lover of science but I found myself soaking up the science of evolution, genetics, DNA and epidemics without even realising it so don’t be put off!
It’s set in Oxford in the near future and the country is run by a creationist regime which has convinced the population to turn its back on science and medicine. Social obedience is maintained through strict public religious attendance and the constant streaming of new amusing cat videos on "the flow". When a flu epidemic breaks out, the establishment's answer is to demand more attendance at public prayer meetings, which of course only spreads the epidemic faster.
The most compelling part of the book for me are the characters but especially the development of the heroine, Lexi. Lexi finds herself drawn into and then leading a group of young people who question the prevailing wisdom of the establishment and also discover the cause and solution for the flu epidemic. Lexi grows from a pliant, easy-going shallow teenager, to a brave critical thinker. The core scenes in which Lexi and her new friends come across the banned theories and discoveries of Darwin, Mendel, Watson and Crick are riveting. These ideas at first seem to Lexi to be outlandish. But the more she and her collaborators read and discuss them, the more they realise evolution has a compelling logic. This is all set against time running out to save the population from flu and being hunted down by an increasingly desperate religious establishment.
The flow is aimed at teenagers but is not childish and adults of all ages have enjoyed it. It is one of those books that you just can’t put down and have to finish in one go. Caroline Martin writes with pace and clarity. I genuinely believed in the characters, loved the descriptions of Oxford and also learnt about evolution and genetics without ever being patronised. Can’t wait to read The Scientia so please write it soon!
Wow, a great book. I love the way The Flow combines scientific mystery with a dystopian world that is familiar enough to be chillingly disturbing. It tackles the question of how accepting we should be of the information we often take for granted - I really responded to the main characters curiosity and determination to understand what is going on, and the way they have to chase down information for themselves - it has made me think twice every time I use Google! I love a book that is thought provoking as well as full of adventure and the drama of friendships - I have come away from this one wanting to find out more about how viruses work, evolution, information control and the internet, but mainly I want to find out more about Lexi and Lukas - and what DID happen to her father….so roll on the sequel!
This is a great story based on the concept of science vs. religion. It is portrayed in a very relatable way for teenage girls even though Lexi's life is very different to the 21st century, and is fast moving with thrilling twists, introducing evolution in a very understandable way. I really recommend it to anyone who is interested in science, and also anyone who wants to better understand evolution vs. religion because you definitely will by the end of this book! Can't wait for a sequel!
I absolutely loved this book, the whole concept of religion and the fairly recent change in the running of the country is gripping and very interesting; it is clearly a very well thought out book! I found that through the vivid description and speech, you really get to know the characters, and how they think. I would recommend this book to anyone with an interest in science, or if you are looking for a mystery that really pulls you in. Can't wait for the next book!
Previous reviewers have covered the plot in detail already, so this is to provide my response to the book. I was gripped, even though I am significantly older than the target market (51yr old mum!). In fact I was 5 mins late collecting my youngest daughter from school because I just wanted to read another chapter! The characters are engaging and believable. The plot is fast paced and compelling. The dialogue flows. I cannot wait to read the next book.....
'The Flow' was a gripping read from start to finish…a real page turner. Caroline Martin has cleverly woven science (evolution and immunology) into an exciting futuristic mystery, creating a compelling novel for young teenagers through to adults, that will both educate and entertain. Roll on the sequel!