The Line by Teri Hall
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
While not the best dystopian fiction around, The Line certainly had an interesting story to offer. As other reviewers have mentioned, it is plot-driven rather than character-driven. We are made to understand early on that Rachel is a good girl, her mother is always sad, and her mother's employer, on whose land they live, doesn't like to be bothered. I had really no information on the hired hand who helped around The Property, as they call it, other than that he was old and looked after Rachel when she was young.
The plot moved forward pretty steadily, although it took too long, in my opinion, to get to the good part. I'm also left wondering what other secrets Rachel's mother could be holding back, and why, all of a sudden, Ms. Moore became so friendly with the mother and daughter. Based on her previous character, I half expected her to clam up and try to either fix things on her own or throw them off The Property.
The book reads very easily, although Rachel's brain wanders a bit. Hall tends to have the characters go off on inner thought tangents, which can be detrimental to the flow of the story. I didn't enjoy that, but I didn't mind it so much as I would have in a different sort of book. What worked in the 19th century doesn't quite work now.
I agree with another reviewer who said it felt more like the first half of one book rather than the beginning book in a series. I think that, considering it was only 200-odd pages, a lot more could have been done with it to turn it into a complete story rather than a mini-novel that the publisher is trying to squeeze money out of.
I will probably check out book 2, but I hope it is a lot more fulfilling than this one. I rather enjoyed the read, but do acknowledge it could have been better.
All that said, I gave it a rating of 4 stars because I did really enjoy it, I finished it quickly and actually want to read the second book, and the writing style was pretty good. Recommended for people who like YA dystopian fiction, although don't expect The Hunger Games out of it.
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