Goodreads Synopsis: The earth flooded, the old world drowned, and now the last humans fight against the elements, on a huge driftwood town. Welcome to the Ark, humanity’s last chance of survival. Anya Fairheart knows only the cold harsh reality of the raft. On her sixteenth birthday, she must choose her role in the tribe; an Ark tradition she cannot escape. Deep down Anya knows what she wants to become, but a daring trial, and the old ways of her people, may keep her from her dream. Little does she know that her wants and wishes may not matter, as everything is about to change. Below the Ark, in the deep dark endless ocean, something lurks in the water, and the old ways will never be the same. Prepare for an action-packed dystopian adventure filled with injustice, conflict, imaginative monsters and an underwater world never thought possible.
Genre: Fiction, Fantasy, Dystopian
Date of Publication: October 31st, 2020
Publisher: Northern Luck Publishing
Length: 300 pages
My rating: 2.5/5
I was provided a digital copy of Anya of Ark by the author in exchange for an honest review.
The world as we knew it is gone, and the remaining humans are trying to survive on a floating raft called the Ark. Anya is trying to find her place in this flooded world, even if it means going against the rules of the Ark. She thought her biggest concern would be choosing her role on her 16th birthday, but there are far worse problems ahead. The Ark is running out of food, and there are dangers lurking in the dark waters below that no one could have prepared her for.
I really wanted to like this book. The premise seemed interesting, sort of a ‘Waterworld’ meets ‘Little Mermaid’, minus Kevin Costner and the bad hair. Elements of the plot were quite unique, and I appreciated the effort that went into creating this dystopian world. Unfortunately, there were too many issues for me to truly enjoy this book. Anya as a character felt a lot younger than 16, and I found her to be rather flat as the main voice, and quite irritating at times. I didn’t find much growth in her personality over the course of the story, even though over a year passes and significant events occur. The other characters were also lacking depth, they all felt like one dimensional prop figures (e.g. Big Brother, Mean Roommate).
There were several issues with the writing that I feel like a good round of editing could have cleared up. The dialogue felt unnatural and at times the character interactions were downright cringe-worthy. This would constantly pull me out of the story, and made it very hard for me to finish the book. I also found it very grating that Anya, supposedly a ‘woman’ at 16 by the Ark’s rules (yikes), is constantly being referred to and referring to herself as a ‘little girl’. I could nit-pick about the other problems I found, but it all falls under the main umbrella of ‘Major Editing Required’.
To end on a more positive note, I think with some serious editing that this could be a reasonable Middle Grade/YA novel. The characters all felt very youthful, there was a focus on friendships rather than romantic relationships, and there was no significant violence or horror, making it appealing for younger audiences. Unfortunately at this time I won’t be recommending this book.