Book Review: Midnight Slaves by Rachael Eliker

Normally I do book reviews for non-fiction, and primarily for LDS focused books. However, I saw that Rachael Eliker*, a LDS friend of mine, wrote a teenage dystopian novel. I was interested in checking it out, and sharing my findings with MStar, where I know there are many people who enjoy good fiction.

Product Details

Imagine living in a perfect world risen from the ashes of global warfare. Everyone lives in New Haven, a city that has a perfect set of rules, the best of schools, great technology, and even robots that quietly clean your home as you sleep in your automated sleep pod.

It seems that every perfect world has a hidden secret, and New Haven is no different. When Jude, a promising young high schooler with a penchant for art, wonders what the cleaning androids look like, he is shocked to find out the real secret.

Midnight Slaves draws Jude into a hidden world of people used as chattel by the powers that be in New Haven. He struggles, as do others that learn of the secret, to decide between the comforts of continuing the lifestyle of New Haven, or attempt a coup to free those that are kept in servitude.

Midnight Slaves is well written with descriptions of people, animals and places flowing easily through its pages. The dialogue is natural and convincing.  The characters are believable and have a good depth of character developed. It is written with the modern reader in mind, lots of action and interaction. It definitely kept me engaged through the book with strong dialogue and action.  It is not a Tolkien novel of yesteryear that insists on using 10 pages to describe a meadow (there is nothing wrong with this, as I grew up reading and loving Tolkien’s world building).

There were just a few small issues that I had with the writing. Eliker notes frequently the poverty and deprivation the slaves live in, yet one of the slaves owns two horses, and others go into the local market where gold and silver jewelry are being sold. We also see some questions answered by a person-in-the-know, rather than allowing important facts and past events unravel naturally. Some of these things are told, rather than discovered by the characters and readers together.

For a first attempt at a dystopian teenage novel, Rachael’s offering is well worth the read. It is an engaging story, as it introduces us to two civilizations and the conflict that rages underneath the surface, bracing to explode at any moment.  I look forward to seeing the next volumes in this series.

 

*Rachael Eliker is mother of 4 children. She and her husband now live near Indianapolis, where they live on some acreage with 2 horses, chickens, cats, and whatever other animals interest them. Their home is an old, rustic (meaning: old and broken down) home that they have been fixing up over the last few years. She’s written a series of fictional books on horse racing previously. She has an active blog on homesteading at: http://therehomesteaders.blogspot.com/

All of her books are available for purchase on Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=rachael+eliker

Book Review: Our Heavenly Family, Our Earthly Families

I was pleasantly surprised when Deseret Book asked me if I would read and review a new children’s book. I have never reviewed a children’s book before, but was excited to try my hand at it. While my own children are now exiting their 30s, I recently was promoted off the High Council and into a Primary class, so feel adeptly qualified to give my impressions on all things related to very short people.

Our Heavenly Family Our Earthly Families

McArthur Krishna and Bethany Brady Spalding give us a promising and thoughtful book, “Our Heavenly Family, Our Earthly Families”. The artwork is done by Caitlin Connelly. Continue reading

Book Review: Joseph Smith’s Seer Stones

Book Review: Joseph Smith’s Seer Stones

Joseph Smith's Seer Stones
We live in a great time for Church history. The Church has opened their archives to create the Joseph Smith Papers Project. It now has official statements on controversial historical and doctrinal issues. It is embracing the Internet. It is now dealing with the skeletons that have been trying for decades to escape its archival closet.

With the new openness to history, the Church recently published a photograph and basic information regarding one of Joseph Smith’s Seer Stones (Ensign, Oct 2015, https://www.lds.org/ensign/2015/10/joseph-the-seer?lang=eng )

There clearly is a continued interest and need for a more thorough discussion of Seer Stones and Joseph Smith. Were there more than one? What is the provenance of these stones? How did Joseph use them? How important were the stones? What about magic and money digging? Continue reading

Special Interest Groups

Since the beginning of Civil Rights for women, blacks and other special classes, we’ve seen an explosion of new special classes with special rights and privileges not given to other classes.

With Gloria Steinem’s version of feminism came a movement that not only sought to bring equality, but to actually diminish other groups, white males, in particular. Over the decades, white males have seen their place in society diminish. Privileges, based usually on merit, were given to others based on special class. Men were denigrated, as many women felt that women needed men like a fish needed a bicycle (Gloria Steinem). With the off-putting of men, came a decline in their self-esteem, determination, role as father and husband, and key bread-winner. There are more women graduating from college and high school than men. Single mothers often are the norm, rather than traditional families with two parents (M/F). Many young men today find it easier to find escape from the role confusion by spending their lives in video games, porn, and other “safer” relationships.

In the last couple years, we’ve seen a new special class rocket to the top, which suddenly gives some men the opportunity to beat women at their own game. For those who watched the Growing Up Kardashian tv show, you saw lots of pretty women that did pretty much what they wanted, while Bruce Jenner stood in the background frustrated. No longer is this the case. With changing his sex and name to Caitlyn, Jenner now has as many photo ops as Kim Kardashian. Caitlyn was named “Woman of the Year”, something natural born women were used to winning in the past. Continue reading

Book Review: Adam S. Miller’s Future Mormon

Book Review: Future Mormon, Essays in Mormon Theology, by Adam S. Miller

When I first saw the title for this book, Future Mormon, I immediately thought of the title of another book I first read as a teenager in the 1970s, Future Shock by Alvin Toffler.  In Toffler’s book, he describes a future of rapid change, much of it caused by advancing technology, which he sees as causing psychological stress and instability in a society that struggles to keep up with all of the change.

Welcome to the present.  Welcome to 21st century Mormonism. Continue reading