Reviewed by Kayti Nika Raet for Readers' Favorite
Alliance.125: Hirunda by Raita Jauhiainen is a unique and well crafted dystopian novel. Jani is a young man who lives in one of the biggest cities in the world. It's a city of progress that managed to survive the Great War, and bring about an era of progress and peace. A meritocracy, women are placed on a pedestal as their population numbers are low, while only the best, highest achieving men are allowed to marry and have children. Jani sees nothing wrong with his life until he receives an unexpected invitation to visit the inner parts of the city. Soon he finds himself doing things he's never done before and viewing society in a completely different light. Then he discovers that the world is far bigger than he's been told and secret cities are suddenly revealed.
Alliance.125: Hirunda by Raita Jauhiainen is a fascinating read. It starts off slowly, and other things would often drag me away while I was reading it, but the deeper I got into the story the more intrigued I became. Jani is very much an Everyman; he's not particularly heroic or tough, in fact he flies under the radar most of the time, but it's that very quality that makes him different from the usual dystopian characters and, in his own way, engaging. I love how Jauhiainen set up her society. She took a simple premise, an uneven amount of men to women and expanded it to its fullest, crafting gender stereotypes, exploring sexuality, and how over time people begin to normalize some really odd things. I have read a few books that attempt to touch on things like that, but never with the depth and finesse of Jauhiainen's novel. I loved it.