The Only Boy by Jordan Locke
The Only Boy by Jordan Locke
I was given a copy by the author in exchange for an honest review
The story tells the tale of Mary and Taylor – two young people caught in an unfathomable situation, some 200 years after an epidemic targeted and destroyed the population of earth. The unclarified disease first decimated the male population but women were not immune and they too suffered at its hand and in the end only limited small pockets of survivors remained.
Mary lives in Sector One with around 300 other surviving females – under the guidance or should that be dictatorship of the Matriarch.
The Matriarch has her rules and they are followed without exception or the consequences and punishment are swift. She appears to have a preference for solitary confinement, but since one of the rules state that you are not allowed to touch anyone- ever – then I suppose their whole existence is a form of solitary confinement.
Mary spends much of her time dreaming of life outside the rules and is quite partial to pushing her boundaries. She craves something more that she has in Sector one, desperate to experience life away from the control of the Matriarch and to experience for herself the freedom of the past.
Taylor has been brought up in Sector Seven, a more relaxed environment where the rules were not strictly adhered to and where human contact was encouraged. When his family are killed by an aeroplane assault on the sector, Taylor is left with no-one so he ends up in Sector One.
There is only one small problem with that situation – he has to hide the fact that he is male from everyone because there is no telling what would happen to him- his ultimate fear is that they would kill him immediately should he be discovered. The whole process is easier said than done and Taylor quickly comes to discover that keeping his secret is really not possible – and he is resigned to the fact that he will be discovered.
The story winds its way quite quickly through the details of the events surrounding the disease, and while we are given only a little general information as to what the epidemic was, the exact cause in not clearly defined – this may be a deliberate act on behalf of the author, it allows us as the reader to input our own interpretation of events without fear of them being completely dismissed.
Told from both Taylor and Mary’s points of view the story gallops a long at a pace and I am happy to say that it does drawn you along with it.
To be honest it actually helped with the pace of events and that in turn helped to keep the story fresh. It was a creative touch to show how both characters could see the same event in such different perspectives – it causes more than one situation where both Mary and Taylor end up at crossed purposes and misinterpret each other’s actions.
I liked both Taylor and Mary, although at times I wanted Taylor to just be a bit more “manly”, I mean he truly was the last man standing – I wanted him to lead the team to over throw the Matriarch but it was Mary that proved to be his strength. Never the less this did not deter me from investing time into their situation and being keen to ensure that they garnered their freedom and that of the others around them – to develop their own utopia.
I found some of the other characters distasteful, the Matriarch of course was reprehensible but Mary’s aunt Joanna was in particular one character that I found difficult to comprehend, how she could show such derision to her own flesh and blood.
The story is well constructed and creative, but that is not to say that it is absolutely flawless.
If anything I actually think the story may have had the making of being told in two and not just one novel, this would have given the author time to expand on the back story of both characters and to allow both the characters and plot to expand.
Overall, I found the book a welcome distraction and once I had started I found it a story that I wanted to finish.
The author did a first rate job and as this was my first foray into this field, I have to say that it was a very pleasant experience.
I will definitely read more from this author!
Rating 4 out of 5