Review: Boonie / Author: Richard Masson / Publisher: Hot Key Books / Release Date: Out Now
Boonie throws the reader into the desert world of JD, lost, alone and searching for his mother, his life is about to change upon meeting the man with the sewn up mouth. This meeting then leads JD to the City, where he soon discovers the dystopian life under the control of the Silver Men. And upon being trapped in the Pits of enslaved children, JD must do what is necessary to survive.
Upon reading Boonie you'll be taken back to the feelings drummed in classic literature such as Harry Harrison’s Make Room! Make Room! where a vital resource becomes scarce and humanity must deal with its consequences and even Orwell’s 1984, the reader is taken to a world in which mankind has changed dramatically that society is dominated by sinister figures that are in control.
What Boonie benefits from is a strong protagonist. JD not only becomes a traditional hero that follows in the spirit of Winston Smith, but also with JD being a child Masson is able to cleverly give depth to the character because he has to deal with all the vulnerabilities and emotions that come with being a child. This is captured to great effect.
Meanwhile, Masson is also able to create through effective description the bone dry climate of the City. This is fed through the desperation of people for a drink, that you feel the need to reach for a glass yourself!
However, where Boonie stumbles is in its portrayal of the Silver Men. And part of the problem the author wasn’t quite sure which tone to take with such characters. On the one hand they come across as incredibly fierce, however when they are described as using jet packs, this is done with a hint of irony (whether intentional or not) and spoils the fierceness that you need with such characters if you are to create a sense of urgency in a dystopian setting.
Overall, Boonie is very enjoyable, it pays tribute to dystopian fiction by creating an effective protagonist that you want to follow and want to win amidst the dire, desert conditions. However, with an effective protagonist, there should be an equally effect antagonist. The Silver Men need some work if they are to have favourable comparisons made with counterparts in other fiction.