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Reviewed by Manik Chaturmutha for Readers' Favorite
Incepta Nova by Robin Alexander Young is a young adult dystopian novel about a sixteen-year-old boy waking up in the corruption and politics of a future civilization. Kayden McRae and his brother Brodie have been left all alone in the world after their uncle's passing. One night, Brodie mysteriously disappears. Panicked and scared, Kayden goes searching for any means to locate his only family. In his search, he stumbles upon an old music box left by his uncle, which inexplicably transports him into a future world known as Incepta Nova. In this strange new world, Kayden becomes entangled in its intricate politics, uncovering Empress Morigan Kinnear's cunning plot to restore coal-powered electricity, with Brodie as an unwitting victim. The narrative kicks into high gear as Kayden immerses himself in this peculiar society, determined to rescue his only family.
The story artfully blends exhilarating science fiction elements with a dystopian backdrop, offering an intimate exploration of a young boy's psyche as he grapples with the overwhelming emotions of loneliness and fear in a world without caregivers. In Kayden, we not only see the desperation of a young boy who is utterly alone in a dangerous world and whose hope for salvation lies in his brother, but we also see the youthful bravado and passion that drives young people to discover parts of themselves. There is an almost coming-of-age charm to the story, which comes to full fruition when he encounters and befriends new, unexpected people he meets in Incepta Nova. The plot serves as a poignant reflection of the real-world horror of child labor, vividly depicting the inhumane practices that Brodie and others his age endure. It draws a stark contrast between the powerful and the powerless, as Kayden and Brodie, the underprivileged, dare to challenge the oppressive rule of Empress Morrigan Kinnear, shaking the corrupt foundations of this new world. The novel beautifully celebrates the bonds of friendship and comradeship one finds in shared suffering. Filled with thrilling adventures set against a captivating landscape, Incepta Nova strikes an admirable balance between dark and joyful tones, characteristic of the finest young adult fiction. For readers who appreciate dystopian tales, found-family themes, and exhilarating adventures, Incepta Nova by Robin Alexander Young promises an enchanting and rewarding reading experience.