A Place Called Zamora

SparkPress: BookSparks. Sept. 2020. 256p. ISBN 9781684630516. pap. $16.95. SF
Far away in the distance, there is a glimmer; a place called Zamora. Its possible existence brings hope to Niko and El, two young people living in a brutal and corrupt dystopian city. Premier Villinkash, the dictator who brought about The Collapse and The Cleanse that removed everyone’s memory of life before, has instituted a mandatory and barbarous competition forcing the city’s young men to race to the death on motorcycles. Only one is allowed to survive. When Niko wins the race, he shuns a life of entitlement and wealth and chooses El as his prize. Enraged by his act of defiance, Villinkash declares both Niko and El traitors. A long-awaited rebellion rises throughout the city, while Niko and El run for their lives, on a search for a safe haven on the horizon.
VERDICT Gschwandtner’s (The Other New Girl) novel has an intriguing premise that shows signs of inspiration from Suzanne Collins’s “Hunger Games” books and Veronica Roth’s “Divergent” series. The story as a whole is chaotic and disjointed, often moving from past to present events without any break in the text. Libraries with well circulating sf/fantasy collections may want this one; otherwise, pass.

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