YA Friday is here and I'm reviewing the novel, Paradigm, by Helen Stringer.
Sam Cooper is seventeen and lives in the badlands of a post-collapsed America.He knows two things, that he loves his GTO car and that he should never go into the city. Feeling desperate, he breaks his own rule and heads into Century City. Immediately things go downhill. His head feels like it's going to explode and even his pain killers have a hard time keeping him alert. Then, he stumbles across a dying man and is given a small chest, something he recognizes from his youth, something his mother told him must be kept safe at all costs. Caught on a surveillance camera, Sam is brought to the attention of Carolyn Bast, the tyrant who runs the city, and MUTHA, the computer that controls the world.
Fleeing for his life only allows him to fall into the hands of the very scientists his parents originally escaped from, but also gives him the answers to some long sought after questions. He begins to learn the truth about who or what he really is and why MUTHA so desperately wants him. His only hope of survival is teaming up with sixteen year old Maori warrior, Alma. Together they fight back against Bast and try to stay out of MUTHA's clutches.
I had to read this book because of the cover. I kid with one blue eye and one green eye. I couldn't resist. That is Sam, our hero. He is a great character, full of emotion and intelligence. He has survived the badlands after the death of his parents, and is smart enough to piece together all of the clues that fall into his lap. At first you think Sam is normal, but then his headaches occur whenever he enters a city. Right then you know he's something special, and you have to read to find out why. I think he handles things real well when he finds out the truth and I was glad for a strong character that didn't whine or fall apart.
Then there is Alma- loved her! She is a deadly assassin who isn't afraid of anyone or thing, and she's only sixteen. She kicks the crap out of grown men. She is so brave and amazing, I couldn't help but want to be her in that topsy-turvy world.
Okay, on to plot. The story itself is well written and I enjoyed having to read on to figure out the mystery of Sam. Even then, there's more for him to do, and you don't know if he'll survive. The story stays focused, and even the side plots are interesting and twist well into Sam's world. What a fun story! 4.5 Stars!