Oct 072013

wendig-heartland1VOYA Magazine: In the Heartland, corn is both king and conqueror. It shackles the people to the land and allows the rich to live decadent, worry-free lives atop floating islands in the sky. Seventeen-year-old Cael McAvoy is determined to break free from a dead-end future, and when he discovers rogue vegetables growing among the cornfields, he knows he has found his ticket to the good life. But when his beloved Gwennie becomes betrothed to his uber-nemesis, Boyland, and he uncovers a secret about his father, he knows the time has come to quit living by the Empyrean’s rules and to forge an unknown future.

Wendig is the kind of writer who makes other writers jealous and turns readers into salivating fanatics. Yeah, he is that good. Not only does he take a weird, dystopian premise and make it work, he does so with panache. His descriptions are spot-on, using language that evokes the hardscrabble, Midwestern setting of the novel. Clever plot devices and characters you just want to throw a frying pan at round out the fun. Young readers will identify with Cael and his desire to break away from his oppressive life and carve out a better future, and fans of Patrick Ness’s Chaos Walking series will savor the strange setting and tragic romance. This is definitely one to add to stock of young adult dystopias. The only drawback to this little gem is that readers will be left waiting for the second book in the series to come out.