Swipe is Decent-Enough Dystopian Fiction
- Monday, August 20, 2012
Author: Evan Angler
Publisher: Thomas Nelson
Like fashion, literary trends tend to come and go, too.
And while sparkly vampires a la Twilight are becoming increasingly passé (and perhaps, even non-existent after Breaking Dawn, Part 2 releases in theaters in November), there’s a seemingly insatiable thirst for dystopian literature as of late.
And like the “Hunger Games,” Veronica Roth’s “Divergent” trilogy and countless others before it, Evan Angler also invites the reader into a scary but fascinating futuristic new world in Swipe.
Unlike the best novels that grab your attention from the get-go and never let go, Swipe does take a couple of chapters to truly get invested in. But if you can fight off the occasional boredom in the set-up, there’s plenty of payoff as you’re introduced to the protagonist Logan Langly.
As it turns out, Logan is just mere month away from the most important birthday of his life—his 13th. More than simply the introduction to the teenage years, it’s the year that essentially serves as the starting point for the rest of his adult life, thanks to officially being able to sign up for the Mark.
Since Swipe is released by a Christian publisher, one might automatically assume that the aforementioned Mark has something to do with the one mentioned in Revelation. But that connection isn’t really made too much in Swipe. Instead, the Mark is basically the key to freedom and self-sufficiency—the moment when you’re no longer being supported by your family.
Serving as everything from a credit card to your birth certificate, driver’s license, passport, etc., it’s the only way people are allowed to buy anything, get a job, take public transportation, etc. While not mandatory, not taking the Mark leads to another existence altogether. One where you’re forced to live off the leftovers of a broken world—something Logan’s not so sure he wants.
In fact, the only wrinkle in his quest for independence is his uncertainty. See, five years ago when his sister went off to get marked on her 13th birthday, she never came back. Not surprisingly, that tore Logan’s family’s apart, especially his Mom who barely has enough strength to make it through the day. And considering that Logan has always been a little paranoid, too, that doesn’t exactly ease his troubled mind.
While the stakes in Swipe are never quite as high as The Hunger Games or its contemporaries, it’s still has its charms. Truth be told, Logan is likeable enough, but none of the characters really stand out all that much. But in terms of holding your attention once the action kickstarts into gear and all the imaginative gadgetry that makes it way into the story, Swipe is a winner.
After a dandy of an ending, one can only hope the inevitable sequel will show the reader a little more of what makes these people tick. After all, if you’re already setting the story in a pretty depressing society, it’s the people, and why you should be rooting for them to survive that really counts.
*This review first published 8/20/2012
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