Thursday, February 16, 2017

Pulse, by Patrick Carman

Title: Pulse
Author: Patrick Carman
Publisher: Katherine Tegan Books
Year: 2013
Pages: 371
Genre: Dystopian Science Fiction
Themes: Power, Oppression
Age Range: 7th Grade and Above

Faith lives in the no-man's-land outside the walls of the State. The United States, in a desperate bid to conserve resources, has encouraged all people to move into heavily populated States, where people are packed into the finite space but have access to food, medicine, and technology that you can't get on the outside. It seems as though the last stragglers of a dying way of life will eventually all succumb to the lure of the State. But there are some who are different. Some who prefer the freedom of the outside to the relative safety and comfort of the State. When Faith discovers that she has the "pulse", telekinetic abilities that allow her to control matter and fly, she also discovers that under the surface, dark forces are at work to dismantle the State and seize control of the people and resources that reside there. Under the tutelage of her classmate, Dylan, Faith learns to control her powers, and to use them in support of those who would keep the State safe from harm.

This is the start of a trilogy, one that I have yet to finish. The first book, however, gets a thumbs up from me! The premise is interesting, and as someone who's read a ton of dystopian YA fiction, it felt new and fresh. Faith as a character is relatable, and there's the whole "dark, mysterious" love interest thing going on. I fully expected to find that the State was the enemy, and maybe they will be in the end, but I thought that premise that the State was good and the people opposing the State were bad turned that old "Hunger Games" style trope on its head.

As far as deep, meaningful discussion opportunities go, it's not exactly chock full of them, at least not this first book in the trilogy, but it is action-packed, and has enough intrigue to keep a person interested. I'd say the trilogy is a solid addition to any well-stocked classroom library, though I reserve the right to change my mind if the rest of the books in the series suck.

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