Book Review: The Map of Bones by Francesca Haig
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The Map of Bones (The Fire Sermon #2)
Hardcover | Kindle Edition
Written by Francesca Haig
Gallery Books
Release Date: May 3rd, 2016

In the dystopian future, mankind turned his Earth to ash. Once the radiation had dissipated, civilization began to multiply once again. The human body found its Darwinian way to ensure survival. How? Every birth resulted in twins – one, a perfect specimen, better than any humans who had come before. The other had a deformity – some obvious and grotesque, and some hidden. It is now a world of Alphas and Omegas. The perfect Alphas could reproduce (twins, always), and the Omegas were barren. And the biggest catch of them all? If one twin died, so did the other. Their mortality was inexorably tied together. Cass is an Omega psychic who wants to bring down her twin Zach and the Alpha council, before they destroy what’s left of the Omegas and of Earth. Francesca Haig‘s new novel, The Map of Bones, is the 2nd installment of this incredibly unique premise.

More below.

The Alphas solved their mortality issues in the first novel – tank their Omega twins for safekeeping in a sort of limbo – not really living, but technically alive. Perfect! Now they had to fully execute the plan. Cass, Piper, and Zoe (the latter two are twins who are loyal to each other) set out to warn all the Omegas about the tanks, to not believe the promise of refuge. She wants to take down these refugee towns, then stop her brother and the establishment, before her visions of blasts and fire come true. In order to do that, they must find the documentation of the Ark – before the destruction people went underground to survive the radiation. The Ark might hold the key to equality for Omegas and Alphas, and prevention of a future blast. The theme of history is doomed to repeat itself is the thread of the novel. And the message of equality for all, and not ostracizing or segregating those who are different is powerful.

There is some jarring imagery – a dying baby born with 2 faces has a head so big, it kills the mother during birth. A girl with a not-so-obvious deformity lifts her hair to reveal her 2nd mouth. Horrid fascination.

I love dystopian fiction, so I am obviously biased, but this twin premise, coupled with Cass’s debilitating seer abilities, make for a riveting story. There are a few inconsistencies that the tanking idea tries to fix, but I didn’t understand why all other Alphas wouldn’t try to find and protect their twin, since their well-being depends on the the Omega well-being. The twins even share pain! Despite that minor flaw, this is a juicy tale in which to spend a couple of hours.

I’m looking forward to Book 3.

Book synopsis:

Book Two in the critically acclaimed The Fire Sermon trilogy””The Hunger Games meets Cormac McCarthy’s The Road in this richly imagined post-apocalyptic series by award-winning poet Francesca Haig.

Four hundred years in the future, the Earth has turned primitive following a nuclear fire that has laid waste to civilization and nature. Though the radiation fallout has ended, for some unknowable reason every person is born with a twin. Of each pair, one is an Alpha””physically perfect in every way; and the other an Omega””burdened with deformity, small or large. With the Council ruling an apartheid-like society, Omegas are branded and ostracized while the Alphas have gathered the world’s sparse resources for themselves. Though proclaiming their superiority, for all their effort, Alphas cannot escape one harsh fact: whenever one twin dies, so does the other.

Cass is a rare Omega, one burdened with psychic foresight. While her twin, Zach, gains power on the Alpha Council, she dares to dream the most dangerous dream of all: equality. For daring to envision a world in which Alphas and Omegas live side-by-side as equals, both the Council and the Resistance have her in their sights.

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