Monday, June 23, 2014

XBR4OF #2: Blinded by the Light

Xyra's Book Review for Older Followers #2

Blinded by the Light by Joe Kipling

Before We Begin

Kaya and I had a great trip last week. Being away from the Internet really isn't that bad. When we weren't checking out all the engines at the power museum we were enjoying the grounds and reading. So while we get our photos downloaded and our notes gathered to report on last week enjoy this book review.

Note: While the previous XBR4OF was for an adult mystery, this book is the first in a new YA (young adult) dystopian series. The main character is a teenager (I think 15), so I think it appropriate for teens and older. There is no bad language and no adult situations. However, there is some violence. Not very graphic, but it can still be disturbing to some.

Review Time

Blinded by the lightBlinded by the light by Joe Kipling
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I received a free copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review. (If you read my reviews you know that I am forthright and open about my likes and dislikes.) I will try not to give anything away.

This is a great read. If I hadn't read chapter 1 when the book arrived and had just a little more time to read on Thursday, I would have started and finished in the same day. Joe Kipling's writing and characters swept me away on an interesting dystopian journey. In many of the dystopian YA novels out there I read as it is another world without seeing any correlation to our own. However, this one gave me great pause - The Neighborhood puts a lot of focus on celebrity, cleanliness, status, and absolutes.

The last is most distressing as their world and ours is rarely black and white. Joe Kipling's main character, MaryAnn may not see everything right away, but she is bright and thoughtful and understanding. She sees that change is necessary, but wants a better way to cause change.

MaryAnn lives in the Neighborhood, the daughter of a high ranking official. She lives a life of luxury, but even among the other Alphas she is not typical. We see this in the reaction her "friends" have to her date with Reese who is supposed to be a great catch. They get upset with her because they want to get connected to him and his entertainment celebrity connections as they are more fun that political ones. They end up ditching her. Not very good friends.

We learn that MaryAnn is normal. She enjoys her life of luxury and and believes everything she has been taught. For all intents and purposes, she has no reason to question anything except for the fact that she misses her brother. When her brother returns everything changes and we get to see how MaryAnn adapts, changes, and grows throughout. She is strong and sometimes makes her believable.

In fact, all the characters are well written. The annoying ones were believably annoying; the despicable plotting and horrific; and the good ones seemed honest and caring. The characters contributing the least stayed flat and those in the center of all the action are well rounded and continue to grow.

Joe Kipling introduces a new society - one laced with underlying lies where evil happens unknown to much of the neighborhood. When MaryAnn discovers the truth she tries to remain in her Alpha world, but with one change and adaptation comes another and each and every page has us watching as MaryAnn blossoms from semi-mindless to thoughtful and conscientious. Like the characters, the action and reactions are well written and flow quickly. I am very much looking forward to what happens next with MaryAnn and her rediscovered as well as her new found family. Not once was I tired or bored or left wanting. Well, at the end I was, but it book one of a trilogy, so...

As I mentioned before I am really looking forward to reading what happens to MaryAnn as well and her brother and Peter and Uncle Patrick. Maud is quite creepy and disturbing, but all because of her dad. I highly suggest this book and will recommend it to my friends.

One additional note - most of the time I feel as if these characters and the setting are in the US, then a phrase or word or spelling reminds me that this is UK instead. Not a big deal at all, just made me chuckle a little at my own absorption into the story.

View all my reviews

The other funny thing...every time I picked up this book I would sing Manfred Mann's song of the same title.

Let me know if any of you have read this book and what you thought. I don't recount what happens, just how I enjoy it and why.

Also let me know if you have The Mortal Instruments Series by Cassandra Clare. If yes, I will post my review to City of Heavenly Fire.

Happy Reading!


  1. Yes, I loved Blinded by the Light. The setting was unique and this is difficult to do because there have been so many YA dystopians written in the last few years. I also liked that there was really no romance in it, I don't mind some romance, but I certainly don't miss it in dystopians. I would post the CoHF review. It is wildly popular right now!

    1. Yes, I too liked that there was no romance in this first installment. I do think we will get some in the future though. That Peter is quite the guy.

      There were times that I thought about Brave New World and The Host. Just little bits here and there.