The Core of the Sun by Johanna Sinisalo and Lola Rogers (translator)

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The Core of the Sun by Johanna Sinisalo and Lola Rogers (translator)

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Buy The Core of the Sun by Johanna Sinisalo and Lola Rogers (translator) at Amazon.co.uk or Amazon.com

Category: Dystopian Fiction
Rating: 4/5
Reviewer: Zoe Morris
Reviewed by Zoe Morris
Summary: A tongue in cheek, chilli in hoo-ha sort of book. That is all.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 320 Date: December 2016
Publisher: Grove Press / Atlantic Monthly Press
ISBN: 978-1611855371

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In a different world, women are bred to be beautiful, man-serving and submissive, little more than pretty faces on walking reproductive ovens. All the intelligent, independent women are being removed from the gene pool through forced sterilisation, compelled to while away their remaining days doing menial jobs until the blessed end comes. To the world, Vanna is one of the former, an eloi with few rights and of whom there are few expectations beyond being well groomed and keeping her man well fed. But she has a secret – she is not dim at all. She is one of the clever ones, who is playing dumb to further her cause. In between her college courses in good housekeeping, (which she's flunking, to perfection), she has the small matter of a drug addiction to feed, and the mystery of her true-eloi sister's disappearance to solve.

As if enough of this dystopian world wasn't already, shall we say, unique, Vanna's drug of choice really finishes us off. She is hooked on the illicit high of… chilli peppers, a substance so toxic it is now banned by the authorities. With her co-conspirator Jare, she has a neat little side-line buying and dealing the peppers, taking every effort to evade the authorities, while also getting her own fix whenever she can. An addict always wants more, though, and the rumour of an elite breed of chilli, more powerful than their wildest dreams, lures them both towards a small group of misfits and their odd belief system.

This is a tongue in cheek, chilli in hoo-ha sort of book. In our office we are the sort of strong independent women who don't need no man (said in a gangster voice) so we were particularly scathing about this alternative view of the world when this book arrived in the pigeon hole. And we had to read it. The book paints an unattractive picture of life in this universe, though of course women would be too dim to realise what was going on, or to picture an alternative, so would probably be quite content to be none the wiser. At the same time, it is an oddly entertaining tale with lots of astute observations that readers, male or female, will relish.

A translation from the Finnish, this book has an eclectic feel to it, and mixes narrative with poems and transcripts, and excerpts from historical and contemporary documents of the new world. The ending is quite sudden but anything goes when drugs are involved to this degree, and I was getting ready for it to draw to a close.

Overall I found it a gripping story, and very much enjoyed the glimpse into a world I am supremely pleased I do not have to live in. It's a highly recommended read if you're looking for something a bit different. This is a lingerer, and will stay with you long after you finish the final page.

I'd like to thank the publishers for sending us a copy to review. If you like kooky or alternative views, then we have some great reads on our Newest Dystopian Fiction Reviews list.

Buy The Core of the Sun by Johanna Sinisalo and Lola Rogers (translator) at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy The Core of the Sun by Johanna Sinisalo and Lola Rogers (translator) at Amazon.co.uk


Buy The Core of the Sun by Johanna Sinisalo and Lola Rogers (translator) at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy The Core of the Sun by Johanna Sinisalo and Lola Rogers (translator) at Amazon.com.

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