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Reviewed by Tammy Ruggles for Readers' Favorite
Redniggskiner by Kyle Edwards is an edgy dystopian novel that won't disappoint. Set in a futuristic New America in 2070, a lot has changed since the Second Civil War. Non-whites are segregated, doomed to live and die in modern-day slavery--Skybear Barrett on a reservation; Terrell, whose prison number is A31216, as a "New Worker". Neither can tolerate their oppressive existence another second, and a chance meeting inside the reservation's time machine changes everything for the two. Their plan is to travel to Old America and arm their 1868 ancestors with the future's weapons to conquer the White Man and prevent totalitarianism. If you choose this novel, brace yourself. It has chosen you, and you're in for a rough, but very entertaining ride.
This bruising story is a breath of fresh air for the dystopian genre as it makes sci-fi and time travel relevant and immediate. It may be hard for some readers to grasp life in space, but life in America's future and past is an idea readers can access. From the first few lines, you are immediately thrust into Skybear and Terrell's desperate and violent fight to survive. Edwards piles all of the best elements of a good story into this saga like so much kindling, igniting a suspenseful and thought-provoking wildfire that stays with you. The characters are unique and have their own sets of beliefs, traits, and habits--Skybear is young, inexperienced, and hates violence; Terrell is strong, resourceful, and does what has to be done--but they set their differences aside for survival and the greater good of their cause.
Whatever preconceived notions you have about civil unrest or race relations today, open your mind and let this story guide you into a new, sensitive, stronger way of thinking. Edwards is exceptionally skilled at description and character-building. Skybear and Terrell jump off the page. And there is a leanly muscled but poetic turn of phrase that stimulates the senses: "prison-manufactured body", "Trail of Fears", etc. But besides being a terrific page-turner with great characters, compelling plot, and mounting suspense, it's a lesson for today--an allegory--that begs to be a movie. Redniggskiner by Kyle Edwards is a commentary on today's society, what it has been, and what it could be in the future.