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Reviewed by Asher Syed for Readers' Favorite
Brian, Jamal, Alex, Kev, and Cecilia are The Chosen Five in the titular series by Janet Kravetz. Book one, Sky Curse, introduces Cecilia Miller, the young female protagonist in a dystopian future where Earth's population has ballooned to an unsustainable level. Natural resources have been destroyed through overconsumption, greed, catastrophic climate change, and advancements in AI superintelligence that have expanded economic divisions to life-or-death scenarios. Titan is considered to be the salvation of humanity, but not everyone can afford to get there. Truer still, not everyone wants to. Told from the point of view of a dream coder in a revolutionary world where humanity's survival depends as much on people being artificially satisfied as it does on alternative living arrangements, Cecilia becomes part of the Five who intend to “use in good faith the power of technology for the betterment of humanity.”
Exceptionally well-written, creative, and utterly unique, Sky Curse by Janet Kravetz is the modern YA genre's equivalent of Aldous Huxley's Brave New World. The book turns Huxley's use of Soma, sleep-learning, and psychological manipulation into something that could be genuinely helpful, at least at first...and it works in the context of Kravetz's brave new series. The novel is written in prose most suitable for older teens and younger adults, but the intelligent advancements and themes that Kravetz brings to the forefront are expansive enough to tickle those with more exacting tastes in literary technicalities. I liked Cecilia. Some might find her portrayal as a blonde, blue-eyed character a little trope-y, but she is intelligent without being infallible and feeds well into the authenticity required to bring a protagonist to life. There are some real twists involved in the plot, including revelations that exonerate her in satisfying ways. The Chosen Five is a series I will be following and look forward to whatever book two has in store for us.