Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Rider by Joyce Chng

Rider belongs to the genre of YA Sci Fi or Young Adult Science Fiction, something that is largely unheard of in Singapore. Or at least to me. If you’ve read other good Singaporean Sci Fi, do drop a note down in the comments below cos I’d love to check it out.

On that note, the author had huge shoes to fill because the only Sci Fi I’d read was Isaac Asimov and he was brilliant. 

Well, I was surprised that the first book in the trilogy felt more like an Asian/Singaporean take on The Hunger Games or Divergent as it is set in a somewhat dystopian world. It’s basically about a girl, Lixi, and her adventures as a Rider. A Rider is, you guessed it, someone who rides a creature not unlike a pterosaur, or a dinosaur bird. I don’t know if that’s what Chng had in mind, but it was the image that came to mind as I read the book.

Now where was I? Ah yes, Lixi has got green fingers and helps her mom in the garden and is envious of her sister who became a Rider. One day, she got a chance to come up close and personal with one of these birds, albeit a wild one, and developed a close bond with it. A series of events unfold where she later becomes a Rider in her own right.

I thought that the story was rather interesting and moved along at a rather brisk pace which was great. Featuring local cuisine in the future world was a good move as it helped localise the setting a little.

What was missing was a good editor. There were loose ends that were not tied up and I was somewhat confused as I proceeded further and further into the story. For example, we are not told clearly if Lixi had indeed developed feelings for Sarah or not. At first she seemed to reject her advances, but later when confronted with a persistent Daniel who kissed her, she appeared to consider Sarah’s feelings. That was a little puzzling to say the least.

In any case, it’s not a bad attempt for a first time author and I look forward to the second and third books in this trilogy and hope that a conscientious editor combs the manuscripts with a fine-tooth comb.

Well, if you like The Hunger Games or Divergent, or if your kids liked it, you might want to consider getting this book at Books Actually. It’s a bit slower paced and rather interesting too.

Disclaimer: The author sent me a copy of his book in exchange for an honest review.

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