Saturday, September 12, 2015
Alive by Scott Sigler
If you like: strength * amnesia * trusting your instincts
Alive is a dystopian tale where a group of twelve-year-olds wake up in bodies that are not their own. They are much more mature, and all perfect specimens. They wake up trapped in coffins, and in various mysterious rooms. They have no instructions and no supplies. They carefully choose a path, and try to figure out what has happened that led them into this situation. With each new room they discover, and what they find inside, the sense of unease grows. Something has clearly gone wrong, but there seems to be know way to find out just what it was.
Many elements come together to create an unsettling environment. Each individual seems to have vague scattered memories, and there is also a sense of mind control. Additionally, there is a sort of caste system, that is made up by a combination of mental and physical traits. With effort this can be subverted, but many of the traits are unveiled almost subliminally. Teamwork is needed due to the physical and mental differences of the castes, but the system also creates built-in animosity between the group. These strangers are intrinsically linked together, and also feel as though they have met before. The teens are sounded by an environment of neglect. Many of the rooms they find are in disrepair, or damaged. They also find evidence of many casualties along the way. With each new disturbing scene they find, they wonder if they will ever find a way out, or a way to survive.
A sense of destiny drives Alive. Despite one’s place in the caste system, one may strike out and lead. Or one may succumb to his or her natural inclinations. Being wise enough to use those inclinations to break away is the key to strong leadership. Sometimes, the right person steps up and acts in the right moment. It may be in spite of his or her self. It may even be regrettable, but doing what needs to be done is part of being a leader. The smart are able to follow those who seem to preternaturally know what to do. Not everyone is meant to be a leader, and sometimes not knowing the truth is easier than knowing. When placed in isolation against your will, you must decide whether to fight to escape or to accept your fate. It is impossible to know who or what to trust when you cannot trust your own memories. What is right may not be what is easy, but leading rarely is. Choosing to act for the future and for the greatest benefit will always leave some people angry or disappointed. A true leader is able to look past this, and achieve more than anyone thought they were capable of.
If you just need a little more time to figure out the answers, read Alive.
Sigler, Scott. Alive: Book One of the Generations Trilogy. Random House Publishing Group, 2015. Kindle Edition.