- The Adoration of Jenna Fox
Thirteen-year-old Martin appears to live in a perfect civilization: a giant dome keeps the climate stable, the residents play a key democratic role by voting each morning, and genetically modified children arrive by "stork" each year to waiting parents. Of course, once Martin begins to see flaws in the system, it doesn't take long to ascertain that most of their lives are quite problematic under a thin veneer of idealism. The dome keeps them trapped and entirely ignorant about the rest of [End Page 330] the world, the democracy is a sham, and the "wonder" children, one of whom is Martin's beloved younger sister, have been determined to be unstable and are being recalled. Martin's quest to save the kids may lead him further out of his comfort zone than he imagined, but he quickly learns that once the illusion of perfection is broken, there is really no going back anyway. While a quest of a boy and his dog (Martin's only ally is a smart and loyal robot canine) against seemingly insurmountable obstacles is a familiar plot, Dunkle surrounds her protagonists with an enthralling range of settings, a memorable cast of characters who hide their ennui and worry to varying degrees, and Martin himself, who while bold and intelligent, is also effectively developed as an authentic thirteen-year-old boy who is attempting something a bit out of reach. The setting may be quite different from Dunkle's recent fantasy-based Hollow Kingdom trilogy (The Hollow Kingdom, BCCB 2/04, etc.), but fans of the author will still recognize her evocative storytelling and intricate plotting, even in this science fiction milieu.