By James Penbar
What if everyone in the United States over 18-years-of-age and under 60-years-of-age was automatically eligible a draft based on our social security numbers and you had no choice whether to be a part of said draft? And what would happen if this draft wasn’t what you traditionally think of as a draft- one in defense of your country- but rather to die in the defense of humanity? To save the Earth? Would that make it easier for you to accept? Would you mind if an American citizen died each day to save our planet, even if the rest of the world wasn’t participating in such things? James Penbar’s extremely well-written dystopian piece, Humane Tyranny, examines what chaos could ensue if this ever took place.
Although slightly stagnant to start off with, Humane Tyranny takes us to ground zero where the Population Reduction Agency (PRA) is in full effect and slapping barely eligible Nero Restivo upside the head when he’s the next “lucky” draftee. And his being drafted won’t be the last time the PRA has a negative and long lasting impact on the Restivo family as a whole.
It’s difficult to discuss the story line of this extremely thought-provoking piece without spoilers. However, what I can say is that a band of rebels will start the people standing up on their feet to let the government know how wrong they feel the drafting is. We’ll meet Nero, who is given a reprieve by Chelsea and Bruce who come to his rescue. Before it’s all said and done Nero’s sister, Tiffany, will be a part of this tale of an ugly war ensuing against the PRA and Edgar Geist, the self-proclaimed soldier of Mother Earth
Although I must warn that for the most part Humane Tyranny is quite gory-as most would expect war of any kind to be-but the imagery is breathtaking. "...the leafless branches mere skeletons of their summer glory, covered in snow, with icicles dangling off the ends like teeth ready to shake loose and fall out." I must also warn that the majority of the book should be considered adult content, with brief sexual situations, and language. I’d recommend this book for mature readers only.
I felt Penbar was quite insightful when writing this book. Although there are no direct instances I can bring up, I can find several in today’s society that could lead to or are heading quickly into the direction of a revolt by the people. It would be refreshing to me if in those instances that the everyday person next door would take a stand for those around them affected by such laws even if it doesn’t directly affect said person next door. Is there still hope that if we stand together as a nation we can right the wrongs we've done to our own citizens?
I am giving this book my highest 5-star rating because it was so well written and quite thought provoking. I highly recommend this book to dystopian fiction lovers, as well as those just looking for a great book to read. As aforementioned, it is a bit slow in the beginning but it makes up for it so don’t stop reading!!