Reaver’s Ransom by Emily Diamand

A World Where Computers Are Extinct

One hundred and fifty years into the future, today’s technology is all but gone and computers are relics blamed for a lot of the evil in the world. The United Kingdom is anything but united, with the Scots hating the English (and vice versa). London is no longer the glorious capital it once was, now ruled by chaos and anarchy.

This is the setting for Reaver’s Ransom from new writer Emily Diamand, winner of the Times/Chicken House New Writer competition. It tells of Lilly’s quest to rescue the Prime Minister’s daughter, which takes her away from her sleepy village to the unfriendly streets of London where she befriends Zeph, a reaver whose father is responsible for the Prime Minister’s daughter’s kidnapping.

The story is told in the first person and in the present tense. I never liked stories told in the first person as I find this treatment restrictive (Robin Hobb’s Farseer Trilogy is the exception for me), and the present tense approach makes the story hard to follow at times. The fact that Lilly and Zeph take turns to narrate also adds to the confusion, making the story feel disjointed.

With an original and fast paced plot, Reaver’s Ransom is not your average children’s adventure where you can predict what happens next. But it never quite set my imagination alight and the hint of a sequel at the end failed to excite me.

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