Having read and very much enjoyed Francesca Forrest’s The Inconvenient God, I was thrilled to find out there would be a sequel. I am a Whopper-of-a-Tome kind of gal—someone who likes loooooooong stories—so my only gripe, as such, about The Inconvenient God was its short length. Don’t get me wrong; I don’t like tales that are wordy for the sake of wordiness, rather ones that enchant me into lives of people I want to be around for a long haul.
I think Francesca* has created such a person in Decommissioner Thirty-Seven. Decommissioner Thirty-Seven is a woman with integrity, sensitivity, and compassion in a country that seems intent on eradicating such useless sentiments. Instead of worshipping gods, people must adhere to Abstractions. This is where I will admit this was not a very easy story for me to read right now because it is hitting too close to home on the political reality in my country of residence, as it is, I think, in many places in the world.
Lagoonfire has a dystopian feel because of the Polity’s oppressive views toward tradition, religion, and personal freedom; however, what makes this story different from most dystopian narratives is that there has been no earth-shattering cataclysm, war, plague, etc. that has resulted in the Polity. This is a place that could exist today. Its birth has been a march of time, policy after policy, complacency, propaganda, media manipulation, “for the common good” brainwashing… so much bending and bending on the part of the people that they no longer have the will to fight a still ever-tightening government, that or they have completely bought into the Institution.
Or so it seems.
Thankfully, there are people like Decomissioner Thirty-Seven, called Sweeting by the gods she has decommissioned, who find ways to fight the inhuman, inhumaneness of the Polity by choosing: they choose to embrace their humanity, to believe in others, to not bend.
I don’t want to go into any kind of spoilers—the book’s blurb does an excellent job of setting up the premise—but I do want to say that Francesca made the Polity feel so pervasive and unbeatable that I was wary of the ending, worried I would be left feeling hopeless at the thought of facing down the behemoth of oppression. Knowing Francesca, I need not have feared. Sweeting finds a way to keep on fighting that is uplifting and within the reach of all.
I can’t wait for the third installment.
* I met Francesca online many, many moons ago and have struck up a friendship with her because of her enchanting way of looking at the world and ability to conjure that enchantment through her words; her passion for volunteer work, justice, and helping others; and her ability to convey hope and resiliency even in tough times; it would, therefore, be just plain weird for me to refer to her as Ms/Mrs/Forrest.