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Reviewed by Lit Amri for Readers' Favorite
After the cataclysm that nearly eliminated the entire human race, the survivors live in barricaded cities controlled by a ruthless empire. Outside the walls, other unlucky human survivors mutated by radiation, called ‘Terrorists’ by the government, live in the forests surrounding urban settlements and are often at war with the empire’s army. Julia Dream by Fabia Scali-Warner is about how protagonist Julia Mayne survives the highly bureaucratic and regulated system.
This is perhaps the first book I’ve read this year that mainly centers on character arc. Julia definitely has an interesting yet harsh journey to make sure that she and her sister, Cleo, stay on the good side of the empire, despite her hatred of the impartial bureaucracy. She definitely has a way of learning and getting her freedom of choice while showing ‘loyalty’ to her superiors at the same time. On the technical side, Julia Dream’s world-building is interesting, the prose and narrative are clear and straightforward, and the plot pace is fast. I really appreciated that romance is not needed here to make the story exciting.
That said, I found myself wishing for certain story arcs. Julia’s encounters with the mutated humans, the ‘Terrorists,’ and her specific mission regarding the group could be explored more, including her opportunity to find the truth about her parents’ demise years ago. Even so, Julia’s self-discovery and her ordeals kept my attention from start to finish. I kept wanting to know more about what her next decision would be when her superiors kept testing her patience. Fabia Scali-Warner definitely has the potential to establish her place in the sci-fi genre.