The Blending Time (Blending Time Series #1)by Michael Kinch
In the year 2069, turning seventeen means mandatory Global Alliance work assignments that range from backbreaking drudgery to deadly canal labor. Trying to survive in a world that's been ravaged by plagues and environmental disasters, three "s'teeners" from the harshest backgrounds think they've gotten lucky. Jaym, Reya, and D'Shay are chosen to be among thousands of blenders, whose task is to help repopulate and rebuild Africa after a devastating solar flare. But the continent itselfroiling with civil war and mercenaries intent on crushing the blending program at any costposes the gravest danger. Separated, the three friends struggle to escape the violence and chaos, and somehow reunite. But will following rumors of a mountain hideout lead them to sanctuary, or cost them their lives?
A well-realized, harsh dystopia provides the setting for this exciting debut. Sometime in the late 21st century, three 17-year-olds face a future dictated by their corrupt global government. All might be sent to work on the "canal," a death sentence, so they take measures to get any other job possible. The three wind up in Africa, where they are supposed to marry local people and produce offspring—the entire population of the continent has been sterilized by an intense solar flare. One finds herself captured by the "gades" (presumably short for "renegades"), bandits who raid the back country and keep captured women as sex slaves. After some hair-raising adventures, the other two boys find themselves battling the "gades" as well. Kinch invents a plethora of abbreviated jargon that heightens the credibility of his awful future world. His three main characters will easily convince readers that they're real, distinct people. Full of action, this is a compelling, realistic and exciting thriller for more mature young readers. (Science fiction. 14 & up)
Meet the Author
Michael Kinch spent his youth in Las Vegas, Hollywood, San Francisco and Portland before enlisting in the Army where he was stationed in Germany intercepting Russian intelligence. A former librarian at Oregon State University, Kinch traveled widely in Africa leading workshops on the library sciences. His Blending Time novels arose from the vivid memories and friendships gained during that time. He lives near Salem, Oregon, with his family.
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Wow. Okay, I have to say, I can believe that this dystopian novel may be a very close description of our future world. Mr. Kinch has an amazing talent for world building. I was able to visualize clearly the haunting and disturbing world around me. This story follows three s'teeners (seventeen-year-olds) Jaym, D'Shay, and Reya, as they come together in a chance meeting, all heading to help rebuild Africa. I was really drawn into their stories, their lives, and how the interacted, bonded, and came to depend on one another. As they go their separate ways to their predetermined job posts, all hell breaks loose as 'gades' threaten the new, foreign world around them. I was really torn by this book. Now, for all those who read my reviews regularly, you know that abuse, rape-- things of that nature-- just don't settle well with me. So, with that being said, Kinch does have some harsh scenes where Reya is involved. And I felt for her the most. Reya had suffered the hardest background among her friends. So when things just got worse for her, I was angry. Although I'm relieved to say that she did exact some much deserved vengeance, and I cheered her on all the way, I would have liked to have seen more happiness for her there at the end to balance her struggles. I was excited to see D'Shay and Jaym really evolve over the course of the book. They became strong, heroic characters in the face of adversity. But Reya's strength really stood out to me above all. Overall, I found Kinch's writing enjoyable and clear and utterly realistic. I was left with a feeling of hope and promise and of a better future for these characters. With rich description and thought-provoking scenes, I give The Blending Time 1/2 Flames! From my blog at YA Bound