In the city of Ark, speech is constrained to five hundred sanctioned words. Speak outside the approved lexicon and face banishment. The exceptions are the Wordsmith and his apprentice Letta, the keepers and archivists of all language in their post-apocalyptic, neo-medieval world.
On the death of her master, Letta is suddenly promoted to Wordsmith, charged with collecting and saving words. But when she uncovers a sinister plan to suppress language and rob Ark’s citizens of their power of speech, she realizes that it’s up to her to save not only words, but culture itself. ~Goodreads Blurb
Dystopian novels are all the rage and it is not often that you can get a story like “The List” that is both familiar and at the same time fresh. While the story line evokes familiar feelings and a nod to utopian societies with a dark side like “The Giver” and to a degree “Red Queen,” Patricia Forde has knocked it out of the park with her debut novel. The idea of limiting not the ideas that people have through separation but also by limiting the words that they can use is an interesting premise that Forde follows through with great strength. This is a middle school leveled book but I still was able to enjoy the familiar path. The characters were well written and though there were hints of romance there was no overtly obvious romantic overtones with the main character, while the familial bonds were highlighted. I appreciate this when the character are written very young. As someone who jumped into dystopian fiction with “Handmaid’s Tale” and “Brave New World,” I think young me would have appreciated a story like this to start me off in the dystopian style. It’s a little dark but not so much so that I would worry about giving this book to my niece or nephew.
*This eBook was provided by NetGalley and Sourcebooks Jabberwocky in exchange for honest feedback*
Freelance Editor & Reviewer