STARRED REVIEW
April 2017

Girl against the system

By Zillah Bethell
Review by

As a “Pb,” the lowest of three classes in Lahn Dan, Serendipity’s life is narrowly prescribed: a food pill for breakfast, manual labor for lunch, another pill for dinner and then off to sleep in the cramped pod she shares with her ailing mother. But when she discovers a handwritten map that details a world stretching beyond Lahn Dan’s walled confines—a world her government says no longer exists—everything begins to change. With the light of dawn slicing through the proverbial crack in the wall, Serendipity is left facing a world she no longer fully recognizes or trusts.

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As a “Pb,” the lowest of three classes in Lahn Dan, Serendipity’s life is narrowly prescribed: a food pill for breakfast, manual labor for lunch, another pill for dinner and then off to sleep in the cramped pod she shares with her ailing mother. But when she discovers a handwritten map that details a world stretching beyond Lahn Dan’s walled confines—a world her government says no longer exists—everything begins to change. With the light of dawn slicing through the proverbial crack in the wall, Serendipity is left facing a world she no longer fully recognizes or trusts.

Aided by a host of colorful characters—most notably Professor Nimbus, a subversive storyteller whose tales offer the Pb children one of their few delights, and Tab, a rough-on-the-outside, soft-on-the-inside smuggler—Serendipity risks her life to discover what is real. Is her map real? Is there really a world where horses still roam free?

Set in a near-future London, Zillah Bethell’s dystopian world fails to inspire nagging unease, but a storyline that rarely lags makes A Whisper of Horses a memorable tale. It may not keep kids reading late into the night, but it will keep them entertained.

 

This article was originally published in the April 2017 issue of BookPage. Download the entire issue for the Kindle or Nook.

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A Whisper of Horses

A Whisper of Horses

By Zillah Bethell
Feiwel & Friends
ISBN 9781250093943

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