The Nogiku series is an expansive and imaginative dystopian sci fi with a strong Japanese flavor. Although the concept is interesting, the writing did let it down a bit. The logic doesn’t always hold up and a cliche romance through the middle bogs it down. Admittedly, I found myself bored half way through and kept hoping something interesting would come along and live up to the promise of concept.
Story: Sanaa lives an unimaginative life, content to be an engineer in a post apocalyptic Earth city. Upon her 20th birthday, everything is about to change as she learns she is a unique snowflake with a heavy historical burden she will have to live up to – or die.
The conceit of the worldbuilding is that the Earth has suffered a vaguely defined environmental collapse and most of humanity perished. The Japanese, since they are ‘so technologically advanced’, make up the lionshare of survivors in a city in Canada. The city has been planning to colonize a new planet now that the Earth has been devastated – those plans are about to come to fruition has the story commences.
As usual with this type of story, the cliche father figure has a lot of secrets about Sanaa’s past and only doles them out sparingly throughout the story – even though her life depends on knowing them. As well, the reasons to protect Sanaa and how they go about doing so make little sense. I found the side characters frustrating to read.
Most of the plot is inert – it’s almost like a filler second book rather than an introductory first. I’d say 80% of the book is this: Sanaa swoons over cute guy, something might happen, Sanna swoons over cute guy, something might happen, Sanaa flirts with cute guy, something may happen. Ad nauseum. As such, this is really a romance more than dystopian or sci fi.
The characters were paper thin – Sanaa’s love interest is so bland as to be opaque. Cute, young, rich, sword wielding marshmallow prince charming whose every thought is Sanaa’s happiness. He had absolutely no personality and self – it was all about telling us how he is the perfect ideal man. Other characters, friends, etc. all fared the same: father figure, friends, etc. had no nuances whatsoever.
I kept reading expecting something to happen – and it didn’t. Sanaa trains. Sanaa goes to work. Sanaa goes out to eat. Sanaa flirts with cute boy. I wanted more.
Admittedly, I was disappointed by Nogiku and started skimming. The next two books promise fantastical places but I just don’t know that I want to be disappointed again.
Reviewed from an Ecopy provided by the publisher.