Genres: Young adult, science fiction, dystopia.
Spoiler note: This review does not contain any spoilers.
Let’s just get straight to it: I loved Tankborn. If I’m being really, really honest, I wasn’t looking too forward to reading it. It’s the second to last book in my Dystopian August schedule and I had yet to come across a book that was mostly dystopian. I’ve had post-apocalyptic and science fiction, often with dystopian-type aspects (and some with none) but nothing like Matched, Divergent, The Giver or The Hunger Games – ‘traditional’ dystopian societies. The reason I was apprehensive about Tankborn was that it looked very science-fiction-y. It is, but it’s also extremely believable. I consider it to be dystopian as the society is at the heart of the storyline.
Tankborn is set on a different planet: Loka, which, as far as I could tell, is identical to Earth. The story is told from two perspectives – Kayla and Mishalla – Genetically Engineered Non-humans (GENs) and in the society they live in, there is a strict caste system. GENs are at the very bottom of the hierarchy and once they turn 15-years-old, they are sent to be slaves to ‘trueborns’ (ranging from low-status to high-status trueborns).
The world-building is very well done: the society is clearly described and in detail; I could easily picture it and understand its social rules and the implications for rule-breaking. I did feel a chill run down my spine as one of the main characters discovers a ‘real’ book and comments on how the words are written on paper and not on a virtual screen; I read this book on a Kindle. It also introduces new terms such as “skets” (skill sets), which I found easy to grasp and learn. However, what makes Tankborn stand out is that it explores issues of class and race as this is what the strict caste system is based on. It’s extremely thought-provoking and although it is fictional and futuristic, it mirrors our own society.
Tankborn won’t get as much publicity, and therefore hype, as the above books but it is definitely worth checking out. It has traditional dystopian aspects: the police-state, the underground rebels, the control of beliefs and ideas, control of freedom and individual rights, and control over relationships; all of which may seem very fictional but are instead very real. I very much enjoyed learning about Kayla and Mishalla’s society and their individual stories so I am giving Tankborn 5/5 stars.
Tankborn will be released 15th September.
This book was obtained as an eGalley from Tu Books.
My Rating: ★★★★★