The beginning of Nation gripped me. I loved the alternate-reality Victorian setting that’s introduced. The narrative quickly shifts to an alternate-reality Pacific island. Mau is on a quest to prove his manhood when the tsunami strikes and obliterates his village and the prim and proper Daphne is stranded on his island. I enjoyed Daphne’s sea voyage and the entire crash scene.
Together, Mau and Daphne rebuild the Nation as they overcome their fears of one another, take in refugees and learn to work with each other. The novel became increasingly introspective as Mau reconsiders all the old ways and worship of the old gods. As the new leader, he must decide how to direct his people and as truths are uncovered he learns that letting go of the past is not the same as disrespecting it.
My interest waned significantly in the middle. I just wasn’t interested in the story anymore and the underlying ideological message of questioning “the way things have always been done” and “the things we’ve always believed” was so transparent that I just got bored. However, the serious minded teen may enjoy this thought-provoking YA novel. This book counts towards the POC Reading Challenge!
Publisher: HarperCollins, 2009 Pages: 384
Rating: 3 Stars Source: Public Library