Friday, June 14, 2013
Review::The Disenchanted Pet by Kate Policani
I can't give this book enough praise.
I have to admit something I don't usually do with a book was done here. I got this book because of the cover. Not that I thought that the cover was cool and great for a book entitled The Disenchanted Pet, but because it was a stock photo and was used also on a favorite novel of mine. As usual I didn't read the blurb and went into the whole thing pretty cold about what to expect.
The story starts out simple and as a reader I felt I had dropped into a simple YA Sci-Fi fantasy that was perhaps somewhat similar to that old favorite of Margret Atwood, The Handmaid's Tale. As I read further it seemed mostly to be a fluff story about the trials and tribulations of this poor pampered girl who had to decide if she wanted the honor of becoming a parent to bring in more prodigy children for the SaSa's to train coddle.
When the story finally takes that left turn, into the twilight zone, it suddenly becomes apparent that this is a brilliant piece of fiction that I'm adding to my library of literary masterpieces. Kate Policani has deftly crafted a tale that weaves in genocide, colonization, and a sort of insidious fascist takeover that is passed off as benevolent rule through hyper-efficient disinformation.
Zarah is the pet. But, when we meet her she seems more like the prodigy who is being groomed for a well planned life. The new rulers of humanity are the SaSa's or Sczhangshen Zshctizsch, best described as the ShaZha. They have come to save humanity and do away with man's wars and teach man to live a better life. To do this they have created two classes, the Prodigies and the Ferals. Prodigies like Zarah are suitable for the future of humanity and are allowed to breed. Ferals are the cast off the ones who can't work with or can't even see the ShaZha, they are forbidden to mix with the Prodigies and all of their children are tested to be sorted out into the appropriate class.
There are so many easily identifiable things wrong with this, but not so evident for our little Pollyanna who is thrilled to be chosen as one who will mate and carry on the tradition of her generations.
Zarah's first indication that she is of better stuff than the fluff of the first part of the book is her willingness to explore the meaning of the word pet as regards her existence. But, she may not have ever been able to show her true colors if she'd not been taken from her protected existence against her will and brought down into the low level of the Ferals.
She may have to live with the fact that once someone like her gets to where she is that she is lost from the system and will never be returned.
There she learns the truth, although she continually wants to deny what she hears. There are really three classes because there are some savages who are outside the system. There are secrets to be told and she doesn't get all the answers while she's with the Ferals.
Once she learns the truth she'll discover she needs to know more. How will she react to that what level of rebellion will this take her to and what can she do? The odds of improving the situation seem bleak.
This is also a bit of a story about slavery, oppression, and the brainwashing affect. It also begins to examine the question of owning people not just as slaves but as pets and the affect that has on their continued survival and subsequent dependency.
There are just so many enormous questions in this book that are relevant for yesterday, today and tomorrow.
The impact on Zarah is great and her decisions make sense and I can't help but see that there is so much more to be told of her story.
I recommend this book to everyone to read.
It has some great Sci-Fi and fantasy elements, but it's so much more than that.