The List by Patricia Forde (review)
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Reviewed by
Forde, Patricia The List. Sourcebooks Jabberwocky, 2017[384p]
ISBN 978-1-4926-4796-6 $16.99
Reviewed from galleys R Gr. 5–7

When her beloved mentor is presumed dead, Letta must take his position as the Wordsmith of Ark, a post-apocalyptic refuge in a dying world. It’s not an easy job, since words are strictly controlled and limited to an approved list of 500 words. What’s more, the capricious and increasingly maniacal leader, John Noa, has dark, terrifying plans to drop the word count down significantly, and even completely. Letta is earnest and brave, if a bit bland, since there’s never a doubt she will try to do the right thing. Noa is actually the real star of this novel, twisted so far past his original good intentions, tortured and terrified by his own imagination and memories of the horrifying planet-devastating Melting into believing that he knows what is best for all remaining humanity. There’s a lot of specific discussion about the value and power of words, both harmful and helpful, in this Irish import, and Forde balances contemplation with action successfully, presenting an electric sci-fi novel with a strong ecological and moral stance. [End Page 451]

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