Info: Arthur A. Levine, copyright 2013, 289 pages
A review in 10 words (or thereabouts): Art speaks, traditions are questioned, and the future changes when a boy becomes a king.
The lush city of Palmares Três shimmers with tech and tradition, with screaming gossip casters and practiced politicians. In the midst of this vibrant metropolis, June Costa creates art that’s sure to make her legendary. But her dreams of fame become something more when she meets Enki, the bold new Summer King. The whole city falls in love with him (including June’s best friend, Gil). But June sees more to Enki than amber eyes and a lethal samba. She sees a fellow artist.
Together, June and Enki will stage explosive, dramatic projects that Palmares Três will never forget. They will add fuel to a growing rebellion against the government’s strict limits on new tech. And June will fall deeply, unfortunately in love with Enki. Because like all Summer Kings before him, Enki is destined to die.
This was a tough read, and to be honest, I'm still not quite sure how I feel about it. It's clever and creative. I know that. It's a cautionary tale about power, politics, and technology. I got that out of it. And it's a love story about sacrifice, forgiveness, and revolution. And that's about all I've got on this one.
The story was foreign to me, and I'm an avid reader of dystopian worlds and imaginary lands. I just couldn't wrap my head around what was going on. I couldn't visualize the people or the place. It was happening, but it wasn't playing out in my head like most stories naturally do. I couldn't see the art that played such a pivotal role in the story. I couldn't picture Gil and his dancing, or Enki and his bare feet. I couldn't picture futuristic Brazil. This isn't to say that it wasn't well written. The story picked up steam towards the middle, and I had to know how it ended. I just didn't have a basis for comparison. I don't know or understand Brazilian culture, so much of the language and description was lost on me.
One plot device I did really enjoy was Enki's letter to June throughout. It added context to his story and strengthened the bond they had created over the course of the year.
Overall, a good read, just not one of my favorites of the year. I think you should read it, so that we can talk it out. So if you do, please come back and let me know!