Let’s take a look at City of Savages!
After the Red Allies turn New York City into a POW camp, two sisters must decipher the past in order to protect the future in this action-packed thriller with a dual narrative.
It’s been nearly two decades since the Red Allies first attacked New York, and Manhattan is now a prisoner-of-war camp, ruled by Rolladin and her brutal, impulsive warlords. For Skyler Miller, Manhattan is a cage that keeps her from the world beyond the city’s borders. But for Sky’s younger sister, Phee, the POW camp is a dangerous playground of possibility, and the only home she’d ever want.
When Sky and Phee discover their mom’s hidden journal from the war’s outbreak, they both realize there’s more to Manhattan—and their mother—than either of them had ever imagined. And after a group of strangers arrives at the annual POW census, the girls begin to uncover the island’s long-kept secrets. The strangers hail from England, a country supposedly destroyed by the Red Allies, and Rolladin’s lies about Manhattan’s captivity begin to unravel.
Hungry for the truth, the sisters set a series of events in motion that end in the death of one of Rolladin’s guards. Now they’re outlaws, forced to join the strange Englishmen on an escape mission through Manhattan. Their flight takes them into subways haunted by cannibals, into the arms of a sadistic cult in the city’s Meatpacking District and, through the pages of their mom’s old journal, into the island’s dark and shocking past.
My Review: It’s been 20 years since the Red Allies attacked the US and left New York in devastated ruins. Sky and her sister Phee live in abandon apartments with their mother Sarah. But it’s check in time with Rolladin, the leader of the POW camp in Central Park. Rolladin is a strong leader with her warlords at her side, so it’s best not to break the rules. They mustn’t be late but Sarah sidetracks them to her old apartment to show her daughters what life was before the war. On the way to camp Sarah falls and hurts herself, causing them to be 5 minutes late. As punishment, Phee must fight to keep them in the sanctuary instead of being thrown out into winter. The book draws on new characters emerging from beyond the city, showing that there’s life outside the walls of Manhattan. A boy also puts the sisters emotions against each other and you don’t want that in this dilapidated world. A diary from Sarah is discovered by the girls that reveals a compelling story before the war began. Shocking truths are revealed about the city and the world beyond once the sisters and their mother are on the run.
The characters Kelly created are vivid and compelling. We drift from two perspectives of Sky and Phee. It was wonderful being in their heads to see two different outlooks on this apocalyptic world. Sky is soft spoken, always thinking ahead, and prefers books. She prefers to leave the confines of the city and to see the world. Phee is expressive, always saying what’s on her mind, and very adventurous. She acts on instinct. The two love each other dearly and that’s evident with their interactions together. The other characters are just as compelling. Sarah is a mother who wants to protect her children. Through her diary we find that she wanted to be a writer and not a burden on her new family. She’s strong and will do anything for her family. Rolladin rules with an iron fist but she cares for her people. Everything she does is for a reason. She harbors a strange affection for the girls and I came to find her intriguing throughout the book.
Kelly does a wonderful job at creating a dystopian world full of intriguing mysteries. The writing is fast paced and vivid. The characters are compelling and you yearn for their freedom with every turn of the page. I was enthralled by the plot and the vivid world she created. The bond of the sister’s is prevalent and heartwarming. Being a sister myself I felt connected to Sky and Phee. Kelly created a realistic but terrifying world of war and the aftermaths. I just couldn’t put City of Savages down until I finished it and knew what happened with the characters.
Should you read this? YES! A phenomenal debut by Kelly. It’s a haunting tale of two sisters and the bond of family. It’s a book you don’t want to miss.
About the Author:
Why hello, and thanks for dropping by! My name is Lee Kelly, and I’m a writer of young adult and genre fiction, a lawyer by trade and a new mom (my almost two year-old, Penn Joseph, keeps me very busy). And my debut, CITY OF SAVAGES, is coming in February 3, 2015 from Simon & Schuster (though I still can’t fully believe it — and saying and writing it never gets old :).
I was born and raised in Philadelphia, went to Georgetown University and, with the exception of a couple years spent in glorious Santa Monica on the west coast, I’ve been buzzing around New York ever since.
My debut, CITY OF SAVAGES, naturally takes place in New York City, in a not-too-distant future, where Manhattan has become a prisoner-of-war camp. While I know there are quite a few end-of-the-worlds on bookshelves these days, I like to think my story offers something new, by exploring this potential future NYC intimately, even tenderly, through the eyes of two very different sisters who have never stepped outside of Manhattan. The sisters’ relationship is also front and center, and told via a dual-narrative — and being one of three sisters myself, this was EXTREMELY fun to write. The book also has a very robust subplot which focuses on the secrets of the previous generation, as well as the city’s dark, twisty past. CITY OF SAVAGES was sold by my agent, the lovely and amazing Adriann Ranta of Wolf Literary Services, to Navah Wolfe at S&S. Navah is witty, articulate, passionate… pretty much a dream editor. I am beyond thrilled to be part of such a great team.
What I’m currently working on? Well, I’ve recently teamed up with a fabulous group of 2015 debut authors called the Freshman Fifteens, and am blogging regularly about writing and revision over at Movellas. I’m also in the process of revising AMERICAN SHINE, my next novel with S&S, a magical realism crossover novel which follows two up-and-coming bootlegging sorcerers through an alternate Prohibition-era America.
In any event, always looking for good NYC-driven fiction (or any good fiction!), so please drop me a line or a tweet if you have any recommendations! And for Moms-to-be, check out my Baby Book reviews tab! I WISH someone had done this prior to me spending hours and hours reading some of the deadbeats :).
Until the next review!