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Reviewed by K.C. Finn for Readers' Favorite
The Raffle is a work of dynamic dystopian fiction penned by author Randy Smith, which contains the completed novel across four volumes. Set in the very near future of planet Earth, the USA has reformed into the New United States, following a triple-devastating attack on Southern California. Now a nuclear wasteland with no power, law or order, the New Angelinos are offered the titular ‘Raffle’. Ramsey Arami is so close to winning, and he writes to his estranged wife and daughter in the NUS, seeking a reunion. But things are not as simple as they seem in this new future, and happily ever after is still a long way away.
Written for adults due to its thematic content and explicit language, this dark and tense dystopian adventure is most unnerving in its approach to bureaucracy and systems. Author Randy Smith has a talent for making you feel just as trapped as Ramsey thanks to the close first-person narration, taking us through his past and present experiences as he hopes for the future he’s been working ten years to achieve. The clipped dialogue of the ‘other side’, where those who have control seem to be offering repatriation to the New Angelinos, is painfully sharp and most effective, and when compared to the direct letter writing style of Ramsey’s emotional outpouring, we can see the austerity all the clearer. Overall, The Raffle is an excellent example of tense futuristic writing which is also scarily similar to the present day, and I’d definitely recommend it to dystopian readers everywhere.