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Reviewed by Francis Mont for Readers' Favorite
The Knowledge Seeker: A YA Dystopian Novel by Rae Knightly is an epic adventure tale in a dystopian setting, 600 years in the future. Past civilizations of the ‘Enlightened People’ have disappeared in a total collapse caused by climate change and all-out wars. What remains are two feudalistic city-states engaged in a deadly struggle over the remnants of knowledge collected by one of them in their library of ancient printed books squirreled away from the ruins of past cities. All this knowledge, condensed in an ancient memory device, is entrusted to 16-year-old Eodain (nickname ‘Termite’) by the Grand Protector, so he can spread this knowledge to the whole world where it belongs. The story follows young Termite and a few of his helpers through hair-raising adventures, trials, and tribulations that will keep the reader on the edge of their seat. The narrative is from the first-person point of view, in the present tense, by the young Knowledge-Seeker and the language is expertly tailored to the target audience.
In our current age of almost anti-science, denial, and misinformation, this is an extremely important book for young readers to learn and appreciate knowledge in all its forms. What I found delightfully unexpected was the use of leftover electronic technology, powered by still functioning solar panels from the Enlightened Era. This provides an intriguing contrast with the sword-wielding, horseback riding characters of the medieval setting. The characters are the usual antagonists representing good and evil in a classic struggle for all-out victory. The hair-raising adventures of young Termite are coupled with convincing inner monologues of the protagonist, projecting the conflicting emotions of the young crusader as he follows his sacred quest. I found the ending shockingly unexpected; it would leave any young reader gasping with a realization that they didn’t see it coming. I recommend The Knowledge Seeker by Rae Knightly to young adults who need all the encouragement to seek knowledge and humanistic values.