April 13, 2013

Book review: The Line by Teri Hall

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An invisible, uncrossable physical barrier encloses the United States. The Line is the part of the border that lopped off part of the country, dooming the inhabitants to an unknown fate when the enemy used a banned weapon. It's said that bizarre creatures and superhumans live on the other side, in Away. Nobody except tough old Ms. Moore would ever live next to the Line.

Nobody but Rachel and her mother, who went to live there after Rachel's dad died in the last war. It's a safe, quiet life. Until Rachel finds a mysterious recorded message that can only have come from Away. The voice is asking for help.

Who sent the message? Why is her mother so protective? And to what lengths is Rachel willing to go in order to do what she thinks is right?

Rating: 3 stars (out of 5)

When I read the book's description, I was intrigued by the Line and what might lay beyond it. Were there horrible monsters? Mutants? Something I couldn't imagine? As it turned out, The Line didn't focus much on those topics (and what's on the other side of the Line turned out to be pretty boring). Instead, it's another tale of an oppressive government and the life of a girl and her mother under the government's rule.

Once I figured out what the book was about, I was prepared for a different kind of read, but this book didn't live up to that genre either. Too much time was spent on the mundane life of Rachel, her mother Vivian, and their employer Ms. Moore. I kept waiting for something to happen. At a few points in the story, the author provided hints of possible conflict or action, but then there was no follow through. I was pretty bored through the first half of the book.

The only thing that saved this book from getting a lower rating was that the second half picked up a little as we got more back story about what the government did, and the last 20 pages of the book really got interesting. By then, however, even the ending couldn't save the book, or to make me want to read the sequel. Overall, I'd say this book was between 2 1/2 to 3 stars.

I read this book as part of the Authors A to Z reading challenge. Next up: 24 Hours by Greg Iles.

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