Thursday, 5 May 2011

Book Review: The Miracle Inspector by Helen Smith

The Miracle InspectorI have read a couple of Helen's other books but this is the one that sounded closest to my taste, described as a dystopian thriller set in the near future.

Lucas and Angela live in a very different London, one that has been partitioned, where schools and theatres are shut, women are not allowed to work and may only visit family, going out veiled, and men are employed by an abundance of new government departments. Lucas is the miracle inspector, checking out many and varied reports of potential miracles. They are a young couple who believe they love each other but can't quite work out where their relationship is going wrong. They decide to try and escape London to get to Cornwall, envisaging a wonderful new life there, Angela it seems mostly looking for a more fulfilling life, Lucas to please Angela and get out before his connection to rebellious elderly poet Jesmond is discovered. In a place where most men die young, having joined the ranks of the Disappeared, he has reached a good age living underground and is a legendary figure.

The worrying thing about this novel is that it isn't too hard to believe this dark and very miserable picture of the future, where women are imprisoned in their own homes and lives are governed by fear of paedophiles and rapists. Yet despite the gloomy setting there is humour to be found in the book, albeit mostly dark humour. I very much like Helen's style of writing, her satirical humour and wonderful descriptions.

I have to admit I didn't particularly click with either of the main characters, although they do seem more hopeful and less downtrodden or cynical than the others we encounter. I think my favourite was Jesmond, and I would have liked to have found out more about him and his past. In fact generally I would have liked to have found out more about the intervening period and what had happened to get to the London featured in the book. Was it one major event or a series of rights being eroded and gradually accepted?

This was definitely a book that got me thinking, was well formatted for the kindle, and left me wondering whether ultimately Lucas had found his own miracle.

Format: Kindle, won in a giveaway
My Rating: 3*

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