Plus One by Elizabeth Fama
Plus One by Elizabeth Fama
It takes guts to deliberately mutilate your hand while operating a blister-pack sealing machine, but all I had going for me was guts.
Sol Le Coeur is a Smudge—a night dweller in an America rigidly divided between people who wake, live, and work during the hours of darkness and those known as Rays who live and work during daylight. Impulsive, passionate, and brave, Sol deliberately injures herself in order to gain admission to a hospital, where she plans to kidnap her newborn niece—a Ray—in order to bring the baby to visit her dying grandfather. By violating the day-night curfew, Sol is committing a serious crime, and when the kidnap attempt goes awry it starts a chain of events that will put Sol in mortal danger, uncover a government conspiracy to manipulate the Smudge population, and throw her together with D'Arcy Benoît, the Ray medical apprentice who first treats her, then helps her outrun the authorities—and with whom she is fated to fall impossibly and irrevocably in love.
Set in a vivid alternate reality and peopled with complex, deeply human characters on both sides of the day-night divide, Plus One is a brilliantly imagined drama of individual liberty and civil rights—and a compelling, rapid-fire romantic adventure story.
It wasn't that this book was bad -- the plot was really well thoughtout, the explanation of how the world came to be was plausible and explained well, the characters were interesting, etc. -- it was more that all the pieces of the book didn't fit together quite right.
The book is a dystopian novel that is more of an alternative universe/reality from what we have now than the typical post - apocalyptic novels. However, it didn't feel like it was present day, it felt like there was a disconnect between what technology and resources and wealth of knowledge is available now compared to what the characters had available to them in the novel. Anytime they mentioned driving a car or some sort of medical advancement they could do I had to remind myself that it was supposed to be present times with a twist. I was under the assumption that this reality could be the one we live in now had the plague in 1918 caused world leaders to have chosen to set up this Day/Night system; therefore everything should be approximately the same in the novel's world as in my own surroundings.
The romance felt a little forced. I figured out their storyline once a certain flashback happened. And I felt awkward reading their sex scene and during Sol's love confession. It was basically second hand embarrassment for them.
The stolen baby plot line and overall resolution of the story was cheesy and stupid, for lack of better terms. It seemed like the author wanted to do too many different things with the rebellion type plot but none of them were well developed enough to pan out properly and the one she chose was not the one I would have gone for.
Another semi-confusing thing was all the French. I don't mind characters speaking another language, but French in Chicago didn't make sense to me especially since all the main characters spoke it. It was as if the author wanted the main characters to sound smarter so she made them bilingual. Which is fine except, again, for the disconnect between what is plausible in this reality and what is true in the world we live in now.
I liked the Nomas in the sense I liked their society and how they lived. Night and Day were just words for them and they had a self-sustaining area to live in. I also liked the actual leader of the rebellion. I would have liked more about them.
I hated the casual mention of "rape" and that doing certain actions was "raping" another character. It didn't help the plot and was an unnecessary use of the word.
Overall: 2.5/5 stars. Good concept and well-written but there were some disconnects in the story and some characters that made me not like it as much as I originally thought I would.