Tuesday, November 27, 2012

The Fox Inheritance (Jenna Fox Chronicles, #2) by Mary E. Pearson

The Fox Inheritance (Jenna Fox Chronicles #2) by Mary E. Pearson

Rating: 3/5

This book was very different from its predecessor, but still a good read. Whereas The Adoration of Jenna Fox was more of a philosophically-bent scifi character study, The Fox Inheritance had a dystopian adventure feel to it.

I have a few criticisms of the future world Pearson creates in this book. It's not as different from today as, say, the 19th century is from the present. I would've expected the culture to shift more in 300 years. Although we didn't really get to see much of the civilization, the language should have changed quite a bit. I mean common usage slang changes every decade, but all the characters spoke in exactly the same way. I'd also have expected that in 300 years technology would completely change the way people live. Yes, Jenna is a throwback, and there was a natural disaster that got in the way, but there were also wars - and wars have always been a major impetus for technological progress. Think of how much has changed in the last 100 years. In the next 300 (assuming we survive them), artificially intelligent androids, transportation grids, and "money cards" will probably be just the tip of the iceberg. I'm not sure this kind of half-hearted world-creation would fly in the adult scifi-fantasy genre, but Pearson gets away with it because it's YA.

Aside from the world-building issues, it's a decent enough story. The line between human and machine is even more blurry with the addition of "Bots" with various levels of human aspiration, and the characters of Kara and Locke whose minds are downloaded into bodies that are created from small amounts of DNA (as compared to Jenna, who was 10% original). Locke may not be as compelling a character as Jenna was in the first book of the series, but there's more action here, so that takes the pressure off. (I'm not going to rant about sexism, but I will point out that the male protagonist's book is more action-oriented than the female's. Draw your own conclusions.) I enjoyed Locke's story, but it wasn't quite as poignant or thought-provoking as Jenna's.

See my reviews of The Adoration of Jenna Fox (#1) and Fox Forever (#3)

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