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Reviewed by Christian Sia for Readers' Favorite
The Girls in the Shattered World by Ben Patchett is a futuristic novel, a coming of age in a turbulent time in 2032. It has been five years since Alex’s father argued that Canada was a country of peace and won’t succumb to the broken rule of the American Alliance. Time proved that no matter how hard Canada tried to stay out of the Atomic war, the repercussions were strongly felt in the country. After the US launched a gas attack on Canada in an act of war, Alex and Alice found themselves trapped underground. This narrative follows them as they struggle to find a way out. When they reunite after a separation, they travel the country looking for a livelihood, meeting interesting characters along the way, and making the startling discovery that there is more life in Canada than the emptiness they thought, and even the Prime Minister is still alive. But what future is there for them?
This is an interesting tale of adventure and survival in a world riddled with war. The characters are well-sculpted and it is interesting to follow them as they move from one hardship to the next. I loved Alice and Alex from the moment they discover each other. The connection between them is well-written and I enjoyed how the author uses necessity to build that connection. Dialogues are skillfully written and they help to deepen characterization, expand the plot, and build drama in the story. The setting is accomplished with skill; readers are confronted by strong, dark, and disturbing imagery, a future that is unrecognizable and a well-imagined outcome of an atomic war. The Girls in the Shattered World is a tale of grit, perseverance, and the will to survive against the odds, a story that is as spellbinding as it is expertly written. Ben Patchett writes in beautiful prose and creates characters that are real and memorable. Overall, it was a great reading experience.