We’re today’s stop on the virtual book tour for Sulan, Episode One: The League by Camille Picott. When approached about hosting a stop on this book tour, I was fascinated by the highly symbolic book cover for Sulan and by the author’s interesting concept. A lot of us have had parents who wanted us to be or do one thing when our hearts led us to be or do something else. Add to that the elements of a high-tech, dystopian world and the potential for an exciting scifi/fantasy novel exists. Although this first book in the new Sulan series is geared toward teens and young adults, I think it is likely appeal to all ages. And one reader is going to win a finished copy!
The U.S. did the unthinkable, declared bankruptcy – now known as The Default. Coupled with radical global warming changes, that means the world since then, the one sixteen-year-old Sulan has always known, has become one of extremes between the haves and the have-nots. And even the haves don’t have what they had before.
For as long as Sulan can remember, corporations have run things. Internal and external terrorists have become a common threat and she doesn’t feel safe anywhere. It’s not even safe to attend a physical school, so Sulan attends the corporation’s virtual gifted school in VEX.
In many ways Sulan is lucky. Her father is a mathematical and technological genius who is the scientific apple of his employer, Global’s, eye. Her mother is an ex-mercenary (merc) who worked for the same corporation. That means they live in a very nice corporation apartment with good security. Sulan knows how lucky she is on one level but she’s still unhappy because her parents and her school officials are determined that she will be something she doesn’t want to be, and she feels trapped.
You see, Sulan made the mistake of scoring 100% on the math portion of her aptitude test, something no one had ever done. Now she has been funneled into a math track by the corporation and apparently has no say in her future. She’s going to be stuck doing what her father does when all she’s ever wanted to do was be a merc like her mom. Sulan loves her dad and appreciates the talent he has; she just doesn’t want to do what he does.
To add insult to injury, her mom won’t even let her learn self-defense skills. That seems beyond ridiculous since Imugi, the worst terrorist on the planet, along with his Anti-American League, has begun blowing up and murdering universities and their students. The most recent attack was at Stanford. It’s not enough to be smart. Sulan has to learn to protect herself if she’s to stay safe, and she’s not buying her mom’s argument that the corporation will take care of them.
“The goal of the League is simple: to perpetuate the hardships of the Default. They quash any attempt on the part of our country to crawl back out of the hole we put ourselves in.”
With the help of Hank, a hacker friend at school, Sulan gains access to a VEX adults-only training ground and begins to train with her more experienced partner, Gun, using Touch, some illegal tech that lets her literally physically experience what her avatar experiences virtually. The downside to Touch is that, if her avatar gets injured or dies during one of her fights, Sulan will literally get injured or die. Although she feels the price is worth it, that means she has to be very careful when she uses it. With a lot of training, she not only gains muscle mass but she learns how to defend herself and the self-confidence to use her newly acquired skills.
“Although the world is crumbling around me, I can’t remember feeling so blissful and alive. The strangeness is not lost on me, but I’ve found purpose in my training sessions with Gun…I’m turning into a decent fighter…”
And those skills can’t have come at a better time. Because Imugi’s Anti-American League is gaining strength, the corporation decides that all essential personnel and the most gifted students will be taken to a safer compound where they can be protected. Although the move is supposed to be conducted with the utmost secrecy, Imugi must have gotten inside intel about it because terrorists kidnap Hank and another of Sulan’s friends. Then, just as Sulan and her mom are being led to their Green Assault Vehicle (GAV) transport by the mercs, a terrorist team arrives on the rooftop. Although the mercs put up a brave fight, Sulan is captured along with her bodyguard, Taro, and her enraged biological personal security pet, Riska.
“A helicopter rises out of the park. At first I think it’s another news chopper, but then I see the missile launchers mounted on the stub wings.
’Run,’ Mom cries.
I break into a sprint – and immediately sprawl across the rooftop, sliding across GAV goo. I’m not the only one. Taro hits the ground beside me, while in front of us several other mercs go down.”
Why was Sulan taken? Will Sulan and/or her friends be the next students executed by Imugi to terrorize people into not seeking education? What will become of them all?
I loved Sulan and her pet, Riska, from Page 1! I could really relate to having a gift for doing something well not meaning that’s a good fit for a person’s personality or a potential life’s work. Sulan’s friends are also awesome and have hidden strengths that she didn’t know about, like true friends often do. As an adult, I knew her mom’s probable reason for not wanting her to become a merc. At the same time, I admired Sulan’s determination to learn what she needed to know no matter what.
Camille Picott may be best known for her middle school novels; however, she has written an exciting debut teen and YA novel in Sulan. The world she has created is a logical potential progression of how our world could become if certain things don’t change. That may be a scary thought but it’s one possibility for the not too distant future. It’s no accident that so much dystopian literature is being written now. The bottom line: If you like the idea of an exciting techno/dystopian, sci-fi/fantasy adventure then I think you’ll probably have as much fun reading Sulan as I did!
Can’t wait to read it?
Sulan was published on June 9, 2012, so it should be available from your favorite bookseller below. Just click the button to go there to get it.
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One lucky reader will win a finished copy of Sulan, Episode One: The League by Camille Picott!
1) The deadline for entries is Saturday night, 9/29/2012, at 11:59pm EDST. No entries after that date/time will be eligible.
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