Friday, July 12, 2013

The Torturer's Daughter by Zoe Cannon

This book. Was. Incredible.

Like really incredible. Sure, I would have liked a little more worldbuilding, but it has a lot of things I like - realistic characters, interesting internal conflict and a rather unexpected twist.

In The Torturer's Daughter, Becca is well, the daughter of a prominent Torturer (her mom's job is to get confessions from Dissidents). One day, her best friend Heather calls her - apparently her parents and her were taken to 117, the place where her mom works. So she rushes down and well, she can't do much, but she manages to meet Heather.

Heather does get released (but not her parents), and Becca sticks by Heather despite all the rumours that surround Heather. And when she hears from her mom that Heather's parents were Dissidents and were executed that night, she tries to find proof of their guilt).

And of course, since this is a dystopian story, she does find proof. And the proof makes her question the status quo. Add a boy who has a dissident past, and well, it seems to be shaping up to be a normal dystopian story right?

Well, no. One of the parts of the book I loved was the characterisation of Becca's mom. Yes, she's a torturer, but she's also a mom who's doing her best. You can see that she loves her daughter and that she's following her principles. Those two traits make her admirable, and the only reason why she can be considered the bad-guy would be because she supports the Government.

And on the other hand, the love interest/dystopian-background guy isn't so admirable. For one thing, he lies. Repeatedly. And he seems to have an anger problem.

The subversion of these two characters is what makes the book so interesting for me. To be honest, that's why I really want more about this society - I can't make up my mind if to go against the current government is that wrong. I know it's generally accepted that if it's dystopia, the current ruling power has to be wrong, but looking at the characterisations in this book, I can't help but think - what if the government is flawed (it does do terrible things), but ultimately working for good? It's a definite possibility in this book.

I really hope there's a book two! I'd love to know more!

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