How to deal with crime during an economic crisis? People are more and more stressed due to their struggle to survive and thus, they more and more accept inhuman laws. The latest is “heritage crime”, now spreading all over Europe: if your parents committed a crime, this is imprinted in your genes and therefore, you also go to prison. Ant and her brother Mattie also fall under the new law, first they are sent to foster parents, but when their background is checked, the whole family ends up in Spike, one of the new prisons for heritage crime. Ant is a fighter and manages to make the best of the situation. But when the chance of escape is close, she cannot resist thus triggering a whole series of events which endangers many people.
Simon Mayo plays in his dystopian novel with our ugliest ideas when life is hard and we are prone to accept what we normally would reject completely. The idea of something like “heritage crime” is quite appealing at the first glance, haven’t we all seen people where the kids just follow the parents in becoming criminals or abusing our social systems? Yet, the author develops this idea a bit further and shows us were we will end. In my opinion, a great idea and a really recommendable novel since it makes you come back down to earth again when life is hard.
Apart from the topic, I found the characters very interestingly drawn. The protagonist, of course, stands out, a courageous and clever girl ready to fight for her and her family’s life. She as well as the others are not the superpower kids, they struggle with what to do and also make wrong decisions. The group dynamics of the small group which can escape seems to me quite authentic, they are exposed to hyper-stress which makes action hard, nevertheless, they seem to be much more human and clear-thinking than the grown-ups around them.
All in all, an outstanding book for teenagers as well as for adults.