If you like: dystopia * Good Samaritans * class warfare
Mutt is the debut novel of Evan Fuller (who was kind enough to provide me with a copy for this review), and the first book of a five part series. Mutt is set in a dystopian future where humanity has barely survived, and the historical records are fractured. Society has evolved into a multiple class system – purebloods live within the city walls with all of the inherent luxuries and mutts are forced to survive in the wild. Those inside the walls favor the current system, with detractors like Emery who uses his inheritance to smuggle in mutts and help them survive.
Mutt manages to explore many concepts without feeling rushed or overcrowded. The purebloods exclusive status provides a nice allegory for the recent Occupy movement without being obvious. At its heart, Mutt is a story about intentions. Each character is motivated by different reasons. For the mutts, it is often just to survive one more day. For those in the city, it is about holding on to the limited resources and creating a cultured future civilization, without concern for those not part of the current civilization. For Emery, isn’t about being subversive, but instead the recognition that blood does not make you less of a person. Emery has pure intentions, but is still a well-rounded character. He has flaws, but is not consumed by repentance for them. He also has hobbies and helps his charges to live full lives within his walls.
Fuller’s style is engrossing; you will not want to stop reading once you start, and at only 200 pages you won’t have to. Fuller does not waste time with any superfluous content. Every word, every idea, has purpose. The dystopian future of Mutt is fully fleshed out, with enough ambiguity about its creation to leave the reader eager to read the rest of the series. At first you might expect Mutt to be one of those stories – dystopian future, magic, disparate social classes, we’ve all seen it before – but Mutt does not come across this way. There is no cheesy magic or superficial wonder. None of the characters is a shell or hackneyed, though many of the typical archetypes are present. The small details in Mutt give the reader a lot to think about – for both the characters and our own future.
If worrying about the tunnel people keeps you up at night, read Mutt.
Fuller, Evan. Mutt. 2011. Smashwords Edition.