Author: David Patneaude
How Received: publisher
2097 is a transformed world. Thirty years earlier, a mysterious plague wiped out 97 percent of the male population, devastating every world system from governments to sports teams, and causing both universal and unimaginable grief. In the face of such massive despair, women were forced to take over control of the planet—and in doing so they eliminated all of Earth's most pressing issues. Poverty, crime, warfare, hunger . . . all gone.
But there's a price to pay for this new "utopia," which fourteen-year-old Kellen is all too familiar with. Every day, he deals with life as part of a tiny minority that is purposefully kept subservient and small in numbers. His career choices and relationship options are severely limited and controlled. He also lives under the threat of scattered recurrences of the plague, which seem to pop up wherever small pockets of men begin to regroup and grow in numbers.
And then one day, his mother's boss, an iconic political figure, shows up at his home. Kellen overhears something he shouldn't—another outbreak seems to be headed for Afterlight, the rural community where his father and a small group of men live separately from the female-dominated society. Along with a few other suspicious events, like the mysterious disappearances of Kellen's progressive teacher and his Aunt Paige, Kellen is starting to wonder whether the plague recurrences are even accidental. No matter what the truth is, Kellen cares only about one thing—he has to save his father.
I love dystopian novels, and I had high hopes for Epitaph Road. The concept sounded fantastic - a world ruled by women? A secret the kids have to figure out? - and both covers were gorgeous. (Though I preferred the ARC.) Besides, Egmont hadn't handed me a bad book yet.
And it's not that Epitaph Road was bad. I enjoyed reading it and seeing the concept unfold, and what had happened to the world. But I felt the plot line was awfully predictable. I called practically everything that would happen, and the things I didn't I had a suspicion of.
I liked reading about Kellen and Tia and Sunday, but I never really connected to them. It was like listening to one of your friends tell you a story about one of their friends - you're listening, and you're interested, but you weren't really concerned with the actual person they were talking about.
However, I thought the concept was excellent, and I wish we could have seen more of the world that was created. (And more of Mack the Knife!)
... but it was still in good condition, probably because most people checked out the electronic versions of books. I preferred the real thing. I liked the way I could fold over the oversized cover flap on this one to mark a place. I liked the way I could fan through the pages and create a small breeze that smelled of paper and ink and old brick building with tall streaked windows and polished dark wood floors and warm oval rugs.
Overall Rating & Final Comments: 7/10. I loved the concept, but I never really clicked with the book.
Cover Comments: It's pretty, but the ARC cover I have I like better.