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Reviewed by Romuald Dzemo for Readers' Favorite
Republic of Equality — 2033: A Romantic Dystopian Satire by David Hejna is a satirical novel that is as thought-provoking as it is entertaining, a story set in a world where social justice and equality are non-existent. The political setting is vividly captured and it reflects the loss of power by the conservatives through a “soft coup.” The country is poor and subjected to merciless totalitarianism, where the elite live well and the masses suffer. While people want free speech and equal opportunities, a crackdown by the political police is ruthless. No one wants to be sent to the Alaskan Reserve—a kind of gulag for enemies of the state. But an underground resistance is budding and Izzy, a college senior, belongs to this world of fighters. When she meets Tom, an up-and-coming star of the one party, she is determined to challenge his political views and perhaps pull him into the underground movement. It turns out that he is already privately cynical like most people at that time, but he needs to be careful about revealing his cynicism to Izzy because he could lose his social credits and standing in the party.
David Hejna paints a bleak political future for a country that once flourished as the beacon of democracy, demonstrating what happens when politics stops being representative and becomes party-focused. This is satirical fiction inspired by contemporary politics and it comes across as a powerful warning of what might become of the US should party politics ignore the interests of the people. Republic of Equality is brimming with social and political commentaries that are meaty and robust, offering food for thought for the reader while exploring how society can easily plunge into cynicism. The characters are elaborately written and real; the setting itself morphs into a major character in the story, affecting readers in many ways. It is written in beautiful, highly descriptive prose and features scenes that are focused and vividly written; the political and historical hints are compelling and manifold. It is a satirical tale that will resonate powerfully in the minds of contemporary readers.