Title: Black Bead (Black Bead Chronicles #1)
Author: J.D. Lakey
Genre: Young Adult, Science Fiction, Fantasy
Publication Date: June 8th 2011
Synopsis: If you liked Avatar and Ender’s Game, you’ll love Black Bead!
On a savage, outlying planet an enclave of psionically-trained humans have built a utopian, matriarchal society that lives in harmony with all life. Leaving behind the polluted and corrupt world in which they lived, they colonized a new home far from the eyes of the galactic empire. Shielded from the rest of the galaxy by the dangerous beasts that inhabit their lush, forested world, the village lives a simple life under their Home Dome. But their goal was more than just to live in peace – they wanted to create the perfect human who could bring peace to the galaxy. Rather than merely cloning themselves, they began to manipulate genes in order to create a race of mutants with enhanced telepathic powers. Under the direction of the ruling coven, each child of the Windfall Dome is tested at a young age to asses their abilities – a test which is can plot the course for the rest of their lives. Unfortunately, Cheobawn – the daughter of the ruling First Mother to the dome – is marked with the Black Bead on her Choosing Day, a symbol of bad luck and shame. It seems the child the village had placed so much hope in would not be the future ruler they had hoped for. Yet there is something powerful about her that the elders don’t understand. Finally of age, Cheobawn is chosen to join a pack to act as the psychic Ear on a foraging mission outside the dome. She knows this is her chance to prove herself. But something sinister stalks them and each member of the pack must draw on their unique strengths and a lifetime of training if they want to survive to see another day. In her visionary new series, The Black Bead Chronicles, author J.D. Lakey invites you to journey along with Cheobawn, Megan, Tam, Connor, and Alain as they use their wits and their Luck to unravel the mysteries of the deceptively bucolic life beneath the dome in this coming of age metaphysical science fiction adventure.
Please note that I received a free eARC via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
Review: This was a book that randomly peaked my interest on NG and was surprised when I actually sat down to read it. Now, usually I feel weird about books that take place in a very short period of time. I like having good development in characters and in settings. So when I start Black Bead and got more invested in it, I realized the entire time line of the book happens in about a day or so. And to be honest, usually that alone deters me from reading a book. I tend to feel like I’m not getting enough from the book but I must say Black Bead surprised me.
I actually really enjoyed the story. Though having such young characters as the main focal point was also something I wasn’t used to. Especially because this was classified as teens & ya but the characters were between the ages of 6 and 10? So at first I was a little ??? when it came to connecting with the characters. But that became less of a factor as I read more. It really made me step back and change the way I usually think when it comes to the characters. Part of me wanted to expect more but at the same time I was blown away by their developments in such a short time.
What I really loved about this book was the world building aspects and an interesting magic system they had established. It definitely had the vibe of some previous dystopian/post-apocalyptic ya books I’ve read. Which I think is really what helped my connection to the story. You have a city within walls and only certain people can go outside those walls. And once you are outside those walls, it’s this luscious untamed wilderness and I fell in love with.
Now the main plot itself, is about a pact of young kids who finally get to go outside the walls. But of course, deviate from their designated path and find themselves on an adventure to stay alive. Now, the main character, she was given a black Bead because of her failure of a test of magic. Now this kind of taints her amongst the community but she is able to go with this group of kids and in the end, they wouldn’t have made it through their crazy adventure without her.
So I definitely really liked the message as the characters grow to accept her and such. And even with my initial surprise over the age of the characters and the way the plot ties timed, I thought this was a really good book. I’ll even probably pick up its sequel.
Have you read this? If so, I’d love to hear your thoughts on it!