Title: The Transition
Writer: Luke Kennard
Publishing House: Fourth Estate
Date of Publication: September 7th 2017
Rating: 2 stars
Well, I don’t know… I don’t know where to begin with this one. When you finish a book and the first thing that comes to your mind is “I won’t write a review on this one”, then things are quite bleak. The two stars are for the effort and the fact that Karl was an acceptable character in an array of cardboard cutouts, in a story that wanted to be “dystopian” because the genre is currently fashionable. Honestly, perhaps authors should give it a rest and try their luck with a different subject. Dystopian novels require immense capabilities on the part of the author. In my opinion, Kennard would be excellent in a psychological or domestic drama. The dystopian universe, however, is very demanding….
Our main characters are Karl and Genevieve, a young married couple. Karl has failed to fulfill his tax obligations and the two have no alternative but to sign up as participants in a shady organization called “The Transition”. They start living in the house of Stu and Janna, another highly dysfunctional couple, they’re stripped of their wages, their privacy, even the right to choose their food each day. One day, Karl decides that enough is enough. The problem is that when I reached that point, I had stopped caring.
Karl is somewhat sympathetic and guilty for certain miscalculated financial choices. He doesn’t really try to make amends and behaves as if the solution will be miraculously given to him on a silver platter. Genevieve is horrible. Highly unlikable, irrational, stupid, hiding her selfishness and insecurities behind the “mental issues” smoke screen. She is so devoid of any kind of feeling that I felt she was quite a bit unrealistic and couldn’t take her seriously. Moreover, the writer puts some pretty ugly words about the teaching profession in her mouth that disgusted me and infuriated me. Stu and Janna are completely unimpressive even though they’re supposed too be the main antagonists. Just no….
I fear the writing wasn’t what I expect to find in a book. There were a few moments of brightness and coherence, but for the most part, the dialogue was poor, the implications of the characters’ choices led to nothing and the themes that Kennard chose to communicate were probably too much for his abilities. The conclusion of the story was weak, rushed, anemic. It left me feeling nothing and a dystopian novel shouldn’t do that.
A friend told me that the plot reminded him of Atwood’s “The Heart Goes Last” which I am planning to start very soon. But mentioning Atwood here is sacrilege. Many reviewers seem to like “The Transition”. To me, this wasn’t a good Dystopian novel. It wasn’t even a good book. I felt no coming threat, everything was too predictable, too “soft”, too horrible Netflix -inspired dialogue and an overall poor execution. And once again, I cannot help but wonder how many more wannabe -Dystopian novels does our world need?
(A dose of Sherlock makes even this…thing slightly better…)