For a reader who cares about characters, Sasha Maclean
29 September 2020
As soon as I received my edition of Ursa, I at once began to read the back of the book. ‘It’s the YA successor to The Book Thief, Fahrenheit 451 and 1984.’ I have read and loved Fahrenheit 451 and 1984, so I know that I will love this book too.
One thing easily noticeable right away is the cover image. A heavy black boot, crushing a lonely flower. After reading the book, to me it is a symbol of the Director crushing the hope out of the Cerels living in Ursa.
‘They’re burning books again in Hubert Square.’ From this first sentence, I am hooked. Burning books again. I can tell this book will involve an evil dictator, a corrupt government, an unfair system and so much more. From the very first sentence of this book, I can tell there will be a wild and against all odds rebellion, like The Hunger Games.
The way the author manages to tell me so much about the story in only seven words is astounding. Packing so much punch, more bang for your buck, something like that.
‘There are two peoples living in the city of Ursa: the Cerels and the Travesters. Travesters move freely and enjoy a fine quality of life. Cerel men are kept in wild camps and the women are no longer allowed to have children. The Director presides over all with an iron fist.’
Ursa is a terrific and at times, terrifying book. It tells the story of a young boy, Leho and his family, living in Ursa. Leho is a Cerel, so is poor, starving and has limited opportunities. He lives his life in terror of the Director and his men, and in the shadow of the Travesters.
With the director disliking all Cerels and having the Travesters follow suit, what would happen if Leho started talking to a Travester girl? It would seriously muck things up, right?
This story has different strands, weaving and twisting around each other, with many plot twists no one could ever see coming. As I read on, darker secrets are revealed, creating a rich tapestry of love, hate, rebellion and more. At most points of this fantastic book, I can hardly turn the enchanting pages fast enough.
I am going to say this without spoiling the ending, but I liked the way this book finished. It did not completely make everything perfect but did not end in despair. Good books always end with just enough for us to feel satisfied with the direction the characters’ lives will take. For the same reasons, I do not think this type of book should have a sequel; the reader is left with their own decisions about what happened after the ending. This is amazingly effective, because it leaves the reader thinking about the book through the night, and long after the last page has been turned.
This book is best suited for a reader who likes to think deeply about the book: a reader who cares about the characters, setting and plot.
Ursa could be enjoyed by readers as young as eleven and as old as two hundred. This book has some slightly nasty and gritty scenes, but they are all essential to the story and make the reader really feels something. Ursa is a riveting novel, and hopefully will be loved by many readers around the globe.
- Sasha is 12 and a student at Sacred Heart Girls’ College in New Plymouth