Nicole Ciacchella: Contributor – Book 1 of the Contributor Trilogy

Veröffentlicht: Februar 8, 2014 in 5 Sterne - Unbedingt anschaffen!!, Dystopie, Englisch, Familie, Rezensionen, Science Fiction

Nicole Ciacchella takes the reader into the dystopian world of seventeen year old Dara Marrow. Several generations ago, severe environmental problems have caused the Great Famine. If there hadn’t been some huge corporations, a.k.a. the Creators, who have saved millions of people, humanity would have come to an end. To get away from the hostile environmental conditions these Creators have built huge domes where they offer the citizens homes and all other necessities of life. Needless to say that humanity has been totally grateful and loyal ever since and all people seem to be happy to be obedient, assiduous and hard-working Contributors because PRODUCTIVITY ASSURES SUCCESS not only for the Creators but for the entire society.

Dara has grown up with this guiding principle – her training as an engineer has begun at the age of three and now with seventeen due to her excellent examination performance she has been selected for a specialized apprenticeship program that might offer her a prosperous future.

This is exactly what Dara has been hoping and working for her whole life and of course she pours herself enthusiastically into her work, but soon she learns that she has arrived in a cutthroat competition for an assistant position. Dara has to work almost day and night to keep a good position in the rivalry. All her efforts seem to be futile after her mother has an accident and isn’t able to contribute anymore. Dara can’t help her mother and do her work properly at the same time, she is torn between her family and work duties. They have always told her to have faith in the system: that the system provides for those that provide for the system. Now, for the first time in her life the new circumstances make her question everything she was ever taught.

I am a huge fan of dystopian stories, so of course I had to take hold on this trilogy written by Nicole Ciacchella. As I have read almost one hundred YA dystopias over the past few years I was very curious if there might be anything fresh and fascinating in this story for me. And yes, I have to say almost unexpectedly CONTRIBUTOR really enthralled me. Ciacchella has a pretty unagitated way of writing that is totally suitable for Dara’s story. The narrative doesn’t live from white knuckle action sequences or heartbreaking love triangles, you won’t even find extensive descriptions of the dystopian living conditions. And yet, I was hardly able to put the book down. There is so much non-dystopian realism in this dystopia: Dara is completely dedicated to her work, focussed on success, prosperity and a good reputation that she hasn’t got any time to question the system. You can watch Dara live like an ideal drone, busting her back always in fear that it might not be enough, mistrusting her colleagues because they are rivals and not friends and completely neglecting her private life. Nevertheless, she seems to be content, proud and happy – almost. The subtle uneasiness grows to desperation when unexpected things happen and Dara has to face the fact that the system isn’t as loyal and helpful as she thinks it should be. Although she doesn’t get any help from within the system (but maybe from without), she refuses for a long time to believe that her conception of the world has been wrong.

It is really fascinating how the author pictures a society manipulated and controlled by their leaders. The people are depending on the big companies, the Creators, who control them by threats and rewards, lifetime education and surveillance and everyone happily submits to the rules.

Contributor is a well-made thought-provoking story that completely dragged me into Dara’s life and world. As I already said the novel perfectly goes without blood, gore or kitsch; it is more realistic than fantastic, utterly believable and in my opinion it can be easily recommended to teenage and adult readers.

5/5 stars – Must read!

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