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Book Review: Zoo

This is a review for Zoo, book one of the Enclosure Chronices written by Tara Elizabeth.

Zoo is written in the first person. The protagonist, Emma, tells the story of how she dies and then wakes up in an "Anthropologic Center" in the future. We quickly learn that at some point in the future, time travel was invented but quickly banned because it caused all sorts of problems. However, there is one exception: anthropologic centers are allowed to travel back in time and snatch people away at the instant they're dying (because in this case the repercussions of the change are minimal), transport them to the future and heal them using their superior technology. As a side effect, this also strips them of any rights they may have otherwise had as human beings. Emma is one of the people that have been saved this way, and now lives with another girl in a glass-cage that illustrates how people lived in some indeterminate pre-industrial time. Interactions with the watching visitors are not permitted. After a little while, they are joined by two additional captives and instructed to procreate. However, neither Emma nor her assigned partner are interested in that, so after repeated warnings they get reasssigned to a different center...

Based on this description, I would have expected a novel that is somewhere between disturbing, terrifying and depressing. However, the book turns out entirely different.

Despite the solemn theme, a perpetual helplessness of the protagonists and plenty of one-sided violence, the book reads more like a description of your last stroll through the neighbourhood. Somehow the struggle of the characters never appears truly serious and the deaths barely bother. I would say that this book is the best example of "light reading" that I've seen.

This is not to say that the story is bad or wholly unbelievable. The book does deliver an entertaining read, but don't except to be captured by it. I mostly kept reading out of modest curiosity what might happen next, not because I really cared about any of the characters. For the same reason, I found myself not caring all that much about some blatant plot holes (which normally bother me a lot).

Verdict: read it when you're otherwise bored. Or don't. Whatever.