13.2.15

Book Blurb Breakdown:The Fire Sermon by Francesca Haig

book blurb breakdown

Book Blurb Breakdown is a Sarcasm & Lemons feature where your anal English degree-holding author (gently) rips apart jacket blurbs to pin down what makes her want to pick up the book instantly--and what makes her want to throw it at the wall.  See the original post for more detail.  


I realized today that I've mainly broken down books that hooked me, and it might be useful to look at a blurb that didn't.  This was difficult, because I wanted to pick something that was based on the style of the blurb, not just content that I avoid.  So... 




today's blurb

Status:  Unread


the blurb: as is 
from Goodreads

The Hunger Games meets Cormac McCarthy’s The Road in this richly imagined first novel in a new post-apocalyptic trilogy 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.


the blurb:  shredded 

The Hunger Games meets Cormac McCarthy’s The Road (I hate this trend.  Grr.  At least these seem more relevant than some people throw in.)  in this richly imagined first novel in a new post-apocalyptic trilogy by award-winning poet Francesca Haig. (A poet--intriguing.  Maybe her use of language will be cool.) 

Four hundred years in the future, the Earth has turned primitive following a nuclear fire that has laid waste to civilization and nature. (This sentence bothers me for some reason.  It just feels clunky.  And also, wasn't the laying waste before the turning primitive?) Though the radiation fallout has ended (I don't know if "ended" is the right word), for some unknowable reason (I'm sure...sigh) every person is born with a twin (This was a weird way to introduce this.  Like, when did the twinning start?  Was it right after the fallout?  The striation into castes makes me think it must have started a long time ago). Of each pair, one is an Alpha—physically perfect in every way; and the other an Omega—burdened with deformity, small or large (Small or large is just a weird way to say this.  I mean, are we talking major physical deformities or, like, slightly non-symmetrical eyes?  Also it makes it seem like one twin just IS an Alpha rather than society has called them an Alpha.). With the Council ruling an apartheid-like society (Interesting, this hooked me a bit.), Omegas are branded and ostracized while the Alphas have gathered (Again, weird tense stuff going on.) 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. (Okay, this is pretty cool.  I'm intrigued now.)  

Cass is a rare Omega, one burdened (Burdened?  That makes it seem like maybe the deformities can be mental, which seems like a cop out.) with psychic foresight (And the Alphas don't think that's cool and useful?). While her twin, Zach, gains power on the Alpha Council, she dares to dream the most dangerous dream of all: equality (Expected, but clearly written.). 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.  (Okay, so...what happens in the book?  Is she attacked?  Does she join up with the Resistance and learn to fight?  Is she hidden Anne Frank style away from the watchful eye of the Council?)



the verdict 
2/5 stars

would i read it?:  not unless i heard it was good

Honestly, this blurb had me pretty intrigued until the end.  Sure, there were some weird tense things going on and that annoyed me, but the idea of a post-nuclear society is pretty awesome.  I feel like a lot of dystopians allude to big wars and such, but this one is specific.  So many possibilities!  Are there still badly irradiated areas?  Did the radiation kill off all fauna and flora, forcing the humans to scrounge for whatever's left?  Is this society the only one on Earth, or do they not really know?  Honestly, what lost me was the end bit.  You have this awesome set-up, but it's a lot of set-up.  By the end of the blurb, I know we have a dystopian book with twins, and there's probably going to be some rebel-joining and fighting, but I don't really have any sense of where the plot's going.  Also, not gonna lie, I have a scary feeling that maybe the author doesn't know the "unknowable reason" for the twinning.  Which makes my science brain cry.  Also my science brain cries because I don't know how everyone could have a twin.  I could see how a number of factors might increase twinning, same as they do in real life (older mothers, genetics, etc.) but everyone?  And one twin is always perfect, the other deformed?  It's just hard for me to buy that outside of fantasy.  

Also...what the heck is this Fire Sermon thing!?  It's weird that it's the title of the book but there's NO allusion to it.  You can get away with that in contemporaries with clever or vague titles, but not for this kind of book.  



your thoughts

Does this blurb grab you?  
Do you agree with my thoughts?  If not, how so?  
Do you have any recommendations for blurbs I should shred?  



some previous breakdowns 

Love Letters to the Dead by Ava Dellaira
Red Rising by Pierce Brown
Dangerous by Shannon Hale
She's Not Invisible by Marcus Sedgewick
Of Metal and Wishes by Sarah Fine



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