Day 74: The Burning of Cherry Hill by A.K. Butler
Summary From Goodreads:
It’s 2159. Zay Scot is a fourteen-year-old boy raised on a secret island in hiding from a government he doesn’t know exists. After more than a decade of avoiding detection, his fugitive parents are brutally kidnapped and he is thrust into a dizzying world centuries more advanced than the one he left behind.
The skies over the United North American Alliance are pollution free. Meals are healthy and delivered to each home. Crime is nonexistent. Medical treatment requires only the scan of your wrist. Poverty, need, and hunger are things studied in history class.
But Zay soon finds himself a fugitive, escaping the brute force of a government always a whisper away. Now he must choose between peace and freedom, and if the journey doesn’t kill him, what he finds might start a war.
That’s essentially how I felt as I was reading The Burning of Cherry Hill in terms of enjoyment. I was so lucky to receive an eBook copy in exchange for an honest review from the author and am happy to say it was wonderful. I don’t know if I can describe exactly how much I enjoyed it so I’ll let this gif do it for me:
Zay and his sister Lina are on this crazy adventure to try and save those they care about with Zay having to be not only a strong big brother for Lina, but also rapidly having to learn what it is to be an adult and how to live with some of the decisions he has to make. He tries to keep his emotions in check as much as possible but they do get the better of him at times and that’s when Lina shows how truly amazing she is and how strong she can be for him. They make quite a pair. I loved them both, especially Lina with her quirky sense of humor and how she almost always manages to have a smile on her face, especially when she knows Zay needs to see it. I really didn’t have any problems or find any flaws with either character, and the supporting cast was just as solid. A+ on this part for sure.
As for the plot, well it was solid, but there were a few minor issues, mostly with believability. Look, I understand that you have to give some leeway when it comes to books like this (dystopian, teens as main characters trying to overcome the impossible, etc.) but it did draw me out of the story when it happened which was unfortunate because of how amazing it was. Some examples: one of their friends (an adult) just happens to be able to free them from their first bad situation, when they are on the run at one point another ally pops out of nowhere and helps them survive and escape, or near the end a certain guard gives a very helping hand. While these didn’t cause major issues for me, I still was loving the story, they kept it from being “perfect” so there’s that. Other than those issues there was plenty of action, drama, a tiny bit of romance and a killer ending. You can’t get much better than that!
As a dystopian it was no surprise to see it questioning some directions society could go given the current way of things. I found these instances intriguing and while I don’t know that the government would go as far as the one in The Burning of Cherry Hill, the questions were interesting none the less. There are questions on how much control should be used in different areas, how far we would go as a people to survive or prosper, how greedy we may become when opportunity presents itself and what freedom costs. It’s really impressive how well Butler disguises some of these in what otherwise is an epicly entertaining read aimed seemingly at YA, though adults would enjoy it in my opinion.
The writing is fantastic, the pacing was perfect, blending action and drama as well as inserting information naturally without any info dumps. I thoroughly enjoyed The Burning of Cherry Hill, and while some of the events that took place are heart-wrenching, I ended the book with a satisfied smile on my face. I highly encourage readers that enjoy any genre, not just dystopian, to check it out. Thanks as always for reading and come back tomorrow for Day 75!