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Hello, my name is Valorie. I have a Master's Degree in History and a license to teach-- I have been both university professor and public school teacher. Currently, I am a middle school social studies teacher. I love horror movies and spooky things. Every day is Halloween. I am also a passionate book blogger.

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Book Review: 23:27 by H.L. Roberts

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Book Review: For Cory's Sake by Carolyn Wada

Title: For Cory's Sake 
Author: Carolyn Wada 
Genre: Fiction - Dystopia 
Finished: July 14, 2009 

Roci lives the life of a slave, forced to work day in and day out in a factory. He is not allowed pleasure, family, or freedom. All he can do to escape the misery of his existence is create a world in his head of people who are trying to save him and his planet Cory. With the threat of a bomb that no other planet has the technology to match, Cory is enslaved by the Borrynzian race. The family in Roci's head, the Bentler's, led by father William Bentler, are a pre-invasion family who work subversively against the government to spread outrage of Cory's enslavement. They also hope to build a weapon to match the bomb of the Borrynzians. Some work as lightening rods to write articles about what is happening to the Coryans, some infiltrate the Borrynzian infrastructure, and others pretend to be good citizens while harboring secret facilities in their basement. Punishment for sedition, administered under the regime of Captain Prackerd, consists of caning, whipping, and then a rod-like device that shoots electricity into the spine and leaves one with lasting damage. 

For Cory's Sake is a dystopian novel. The people on and about the different planets lived in peace and came to believe war as a thing of the past. With nothing but optimism in their hearts, they destroyed the technology that helped Earth and then them create weapons. That is what left them open to the bomb of the Borrynzians, and left them so far behind that they struggle to come up with something to counter the threat. For Cory's Sake is also a story of how there are good people and bad people, but even those people can contradict their nature and do good and bad things interchangeably. Captain Prackerd, for example, keeps the Coryans enslaved and punishes anyone who goes against their order. Yet, the ultimate punishment is never death. And Captain Prackerd loves his son Kerry in his own way, spoiling him with material things even though his own punishments are physical and harsh. I never understood why lightening rods are necessary. If the goal was to create another bomb to use to save the Coryans, then the Bentler family could have saved themselves a lot of trouble if they just continued to work on that in secret and pretended to be a law abiding family. There was no reason for William Bentler to let his children be punished for speaking out in support of the Coryans. The articles of sedition published never seem to do any good, only bad. Maybe they helped sway people... I don't know. It was still a brave thing to do, for sure. 

The story is original and compelling. I very much enjoyed that every character is different, complex, consistent, and unique. Wada had a vision for each of her players and executes it perfectly. Even characters like Terrance, who seems harsh and unforgiving, you come to understand as deep and sensitive. The ending, too, is startling but still sweet. The twist Wada gives to the end of the book still leaves one with a sense of victory, but makes you question the nature of everything done for it. I don't want to give specifics because I don't want to give away what the ending is, but you feel terrible for the characters who have sacrificed so much for it. Yet what this sympathy does is make you consider what the sacrifices are ultimately worth and why they are nevertheless very necessary. It is not a clean and clear victory, easy to justify, and I like that about it.

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