Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Reader's Review: "The Way" by Mary E. Twomey

Synopsis from Amazon:
How far would you go to save the people you love?

In a world not divided by race, creed or color, but by blood type, Blue Anders finds herself on the wrong end of fortune’s mercy. Born with a lesser blood type, Blue is raised in The Way, a work camp for A-bloods.

Now Blue must fight against and alongside her violent brother to free their people and end the slavery forced upon her family by the blood drinkers. Standing up to her sociopath brother will be difficult, but admitting what she wants when she meets an intriguing man from the ruling class just might be impossible.

My Review:

At first glance, the premise sounds bizarre. We've heard of division by personality type, by production, by the willingness to be controlled by the government—
But... Blood type? Seems kind of strange; what makes one type of blood better than another? Answer: the Fountain of Youth. Discovered decades earlier, this Fountain does everything as promised: slows aging, increases bone density, enhances the perception of smell, since taste for food is not really a requirement for survival. But there's a catch: it only works on people with type-B blood. Those with type-A become the lower class, the Wayward ones, existing only to serve the "superior" type-B Vemreaux.
From there, Mary Twomey delves deep into a driving mystery, an oblivious people, and their reluctant savior. Colorful characters splash vividly over the mind, from the bubbly Elle to the firm, gruff Baird; his intriguing sister Blue and the painfully shy Grettel.

Mary Twomey displays a no-holds-barred, bare-fisted approach to establishing characters, plot, setting, and conflict from the very first scene: Baird and Blue discussing her future as they shovel cow muck. Baird seems a very cold and distant brother, alternately berating and using his sister, honing her unique abilities as a deadly killer with all the emotional investment of a drill sergeant, while Blue only ever wants to be loved and sought like the woman everyone else acknowledges her to be. But it's important to Baird for Blue to be ready to fulfill her destiny, even if he's so controlling that he does everything he can to prevent anyone else from finding out Blue's "secret" till he can be the one to initiate the action.

Things get complicated when Blue inadvertently catches the eye of the visiting European dignitary and his entourage. Blue encounters feelings she cannot suppress, and Baird must realize that his secret cannot stay hidden forever. But can Prince Liam and Sam and the other Vemreaux be trusted? Is Blue ready to face the predator that has been killing off the type-O-blooded outcasts and their Vemreaux "masters"? Why would she want to free them from tyranny--when it feels like the Vemreaux are themselves the tyrants?

The world she creates is unmistakably our own (divided into the three major political powers: American, European, and Chinese), and yet so fascinatingly foreign. The issues raised, of racism and class-ism, of poverty and purpose—Mary Twomey confronts them deftly and I was reminded how easily even the most progressive First-World country can still succumb to the same old prejudices, even in a completely original context.

A thrilling beginning to an adventure I'm dying to finish!

Further Reading: (Dystopian/Sci-Fi/Alternate History/Strong Female Lead)
The Vemreaux Trilogy--Mary E. Twomey
       -The Way *(This book)
       -The Truth 
       -The Lie 
The Jill Andersen Series--J. D. Cunegan
       -Blood Ties 
       -Behind the Badge 
       -Behind The Mask
The Untamed Series--Madeline Dyer
The Red Dog Conspiracy--Patricia Loofbourrow
       -The Alcatraz Coup 
       -Jacq of Spades 
       -Queen of Diamonds 
       -Ace of Clubs 
-Finding Pandora: World--E. Rachael Hardcastle 
-The Tannis Project--Daryl J. Ball 
-AmsterDamned--Nils Visser
The Bhinian Empire--Miriam Forster
     -City of A Thousand Dolls 
     -Empire of Shadows 


  1. "At first glance, the premise sounds bizarre. We've heard of division by personality type, by production, by the willingness to be controlled by the government—
    But... Blood type? Seems kind of strange; what makes one type of blood better than another?"

    You know...this could be an interesting thesis statement/example given for the ridiculousness of the ongoing racial issues. Seriously...there's only one race (the Human Race) and our demanding to be recognised as this or segregated for that only prolongs the problems that people in the past fought so long and hard against.

    Anyway *climbs off of soapbox* this book sounds VERY interesting. You've definitely got MY interest piqued!

    1. But at the same time... The evolutionary "survival of the fittest" mentality does fit with the premise Ms. Twomey presents: the B blood types are considered "better" because they are the ones who can receive near-immortality from the Fountain of Youth. So there's a reasonable explanation for the segregation of the blood types--not that I'm defending it, it's just not as ridiculous and arbitrary as claiming that a certain skin color affects a person's intelligence.
      Oh man, Emily! I would SO recommend this book! It's fantastic!