The Race by Nina Allan
|The Race by Nina Allan|
|Category: Science Fiction|
|Reviewer: Olivia Tierney|
|Summary: An unusual thought-provoking novel, intertwining four novellas as a woman and those around her come to terms with the events of the past. An interesting concept and wonderfully written, Nina Allan's novel expertly weaves imaginations with reality.|
|Buy? Yes||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 448||Date: July 2016|
|Publisher: Titan Books|
|External links: Author's website|
Who I become from here is for me to decide
The Race is a clever story alternating between our world and that of one set in a future Earth scarred by fracking and ecological collapse. In our world, the story follows Christy, a young aspiring writer whose mother left when she was only 15 and whose life is dominated by fear of her brother, a man capable of monstrous acts. Meanwhile, in Sapphire a world similar to our own yet very different, with the entire economy funded by illegal smart dog racing, we encounter Jenna Hoolman whose young niece is kidnapped at the tender age of 4. We also learn about Alex, a man who can help Christy uncover the truth behind her past as well as Maree, an intelligent young woman who has the power to change the world forever.
Nina Allan's novel is fantastic in exploring identity and The Race centers on two young people trying to find their place in the world. The story is incredibly empowering, highlighting that even those who have spent their lives in another's shadow have the capability to control their own destiny and make a life for themselves. This was shown in both worlds as Jenna endeavors to become a successful glove maker for smart dog racers; meanwhile Christy embarks upon her dream of becoming an author. The book had good suspense and was very shocking at times, which kept the reader hanging on the edge of their seat. I really liked the unique concept of communication with animals, which perhaps could have been explored more. Moreover, Nina Allan was very good at developing the characters and we as the reader were able to journey through their lives, which was harrowing and heartbreaking at times.
The best thing about the book, which I loved, was the layout with four interweaving stories. This structure allowed more comparisons to be drawn between Jenna and Christy specifically and invited other perspectives to enhance the story. I really loved the connections between all four main characters, having met them in the previous parts of the novel. In particular, I liked Alex's background in dealing with racial tensions as a child and how bullying in those years had affected him as a result.
Nina Allan's novel explores the idea parallel universes, young women growing in confidence and independence as well as one woman's coping strategy to come to terms with the harrowing events of her past. Thought-provoking and with a unique layout, The Race is a great read with an intriguing sci-fi twist.
In terms of further reading, The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood is a superb book about womanhood and a must-read. It is similar to The Race as the two protagonists of both novels undergo a discovery of identity, and begin to understand that they have the power to change their futures.
Many thanks to the publisher for providing the BookBag with a copy to review!
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