By: Cynthia Ayala
Phaet Theta has lived her entire life invisible since her father death, close only to her best friend who speaks for her and her family, keeping under the radar as much as possible. That is until her mother is suddenly arrested. Stuck with limited options in how to her keep her younger siblings outside of the degrading Shelter, 15-year-old Phaet enlist in the Militia. Where training is both deadly and competitive, Phaet finds a comrade in Wes, the mysterious outsider whose fate seems tied to hers. The plan: rank high and save her family, but as secrets begin to rise, ranking high and staying alive are easier said than done.
Dove Arising is the debut novel of Karen Bao. Published February 24, 2015 by Viking Juvenile, the novel joins the throng of novels within the young adult/dystopic science fiction genre combining the likes of Enders Game and The Hunger Games to weave a suspenseful novel.
Dove Arising follows the protagonist Phaet Theta, a young girl who must make the decision to take on a particularly hazardous job with the moon militia to keep her family safe. A courageous story with a down to earth character who has the spirit of Katniss and the strength of Ender. However, this character has more spirit and personality within her to keep her interesting. Bao invests the readers into this character so that the audience can attach themselves to the premise of the novel. By building this futuristic environment, Bao makes this science fiction story relevant in order to ground the reader and connect it to very relevant aspects of reality. Bao is opening the eyes of young readers everywhere with this novel.
The novel is set on a futuristic moon colony that is at war with the Earth. But there are secrets out there, secrets that have built and corrupted this colony, turning it’s back on the destitute and seeking to inspire conformity like Big Brother in 1984. Phaet is a character who doesn’t really stand out in the world, who tries to blend in and make herself invisible as best as possible. Of course, events thrust her into the light, much to her demise, but for the love of her family, she does it, she makes herself noticeable, she makes herself known. This builds up the events of the story, giving depth to the characters.
There is not a lot of action in the story, it focuses more on events, and building the story and the characters than it does on action. Slow and steady wins the race as they say, and this novel does just that. Character and story development tend to get lost within the action of a novel, but as the pace of the story remains steady, readers can actually see the development of both very clearly.
The one annoying part of the story is in regards to how Phaet’s family reacts to her actions. Readers grow to understand this character and understand what she has gone through, the audience knows that she does not change; the readers see that she hasn’t changed. But the family shuns her the moment she puts on the uniform because she is wearing the uniform. They treat her horribly and that is upsetting because all the readers can see who she is.
Other than that, it was an amazing novel, incredibly groundbreaking, well written and relevant to today’s world. [★★★ ½ (out of 4 ☆‘s) | B+]