Following good stories wherever they lead
Raised to be a drudge, trapped by her society, this is the story of a girl who dares to reach higher — and finds a partner on the other side.
Rating: 3 out of 5 mugs
If you’re in the mood for: Hopeless romance despite the odds, with some occasional felonies tossed in, and a world torn by prejudice.
Sol is sure that what she’s about to do is dangerous, illegal, and stupid — but she doesn’t have any other choice.
There’s no other way to get to the hospital to see Ciel’s baby…and then steal her and take her to Poppu.
Her grandfather deserves one more moment of happiness in this life. Holding his only granddaughter — even if he can’t see her — is what Sol can give him.
Afterwards, Sol will go directly to jail, Poppu will die, and her life will be over.
It isn’t a great plan. It isn’t even a good one. And that’s before Sol encounters D’Arcy, the arrogant Ray medical student who’s about to ruin everything. Privileged and far too perceptive, D’Arcy is not about to let some smart-mouthed Smudge girl pull anything on his watch. Sol is going to have to think fast, talk faster, and hope things hold together long enough to escape.
This book is about courage and love, and the insidious damage that segregation wreaks. In Sol’s world, the population is divided not by race but by time — roughly half of the world are Rays, higher-status citizens who live and work in daylight. The other half are Smudges. Or, as the Hour Guard consider them, miscreants and drudges. Condemned to spend their lives in darkness, Sol’s people take the low-paying, menial, dangerous jobs required to keep the nation running.
As a piece of world-building, this is a different concept — it stems from a piece of derivative history, in which the flu pandemic of 1918 spreads into a global nightmare. Confronted with mass extinction, the American President institutes a system of segregated day and night labor, hoping that the quarantine will halt the spread of disease while continuing to ensure smooth operations. It works — so well that other countries adopt the system — and the divide remains in place even after the threat of disease has passed.
I can’t say that I was particularly convinced by the rationale for this divide — it felt a little flimsy. But Fama does an excellent job of detailing the type of damage such a split would cause, on both sides. Through Sol and D’Arcy, we see how the young people of both Night and Day are trapped, cut off from their dreams and the people they love.
It was mostly Sol herself who kept me reading — tough, sarcastic, and fully aware of her own faults in loving too fiercely and too well. She has no illusions about her life, or her own ability to change the entire system that oppresses her. This is not a story about revolution…at least not yet.
More, it’s a story about finding your heart and losing it again, about the prices you’ll pay and the sacrifices you’ll make for those you love — in hopeless conditions, with no chance at all. Sol is the perfect choice to carry this tale, and D’Arcy is a worthy counterpoint as a poet trapped in a scientist, all too able to see the logical choices.
In terms of action, this is internally-focused, so don’t come in expecting explosions and battles. For all that, the suspense is there, if you care about Sol at all. More, this is a gem for the love story that develops — slowly, inevitably, and beautifully, against a backdrop of oppression and hatred.
A quieter story of love, sacrifice, and facing the dawn no matter what comes next. Pick up this novel to watch Sol light up her Night world.