As someone who chose writing as a major and profession, I can’t but be biased about a book that is about a dystopian government using words as a way to control people. Veracity by Laura Bynum is shades of 1984, Patrick Ness’s The Knife of Never Letting Go and current events such as redacting documents, freedom of speech issues, etc.
Harper Adams was just a toddler in the before times, before the world changed. She was old enough to remember losing her parents, the parents she was told reacted badly to the vaccine they were given to protect them from the Pandemic which was killing millions across the country. As a teen she was chosen, against her will, to work for one of the government agencies as a Monitor due to her sentient abilities. Sentients are the modern term for people in the beforetimes known as psychics. In Harper’s case, she can read people’s colors. The colors tell her what kind of person someone is, how they feel and what they have done. As part of her work, she also helps with the Red Lists, which are made up of words that are no longer allowed, and how the government keeps them from usage is everyone’s slate, a metal device inserted close to the carotid that will shock someone at varying levels of severity for trying to say certain words, in the worst case trying to speak a certain word can kill the speaker.
More benign methods the government uses to control people are the handing out of Occlusia, a sort of antidepressant drug, an increased number of bars, and the public’s right to free _____. Still, Harper can’t help feeling a strong sense of unease about society, especially when her work involves making sure that people who have been accused of crimes are actually guilty, however, often the alleged ‘criminals’ receive their punishment before she can review their case files. The Blue Coats are the quasi police force in this society of the future and all they have to do is recite the codes of the alleged violations and that gives the Blue Coats the authority to administer what is often severe punishment such as beatings, rape, and killing people who violate the rules
As there are flashbacks to Harper’s teen years, I decided to include this review on this blog even though it’s primarily a YA dystopian fiction blog. Of course in this kind of future, a person with Harper’s abilities is the perfect recruit for the government agency that monitors suspected rebels, but that’s also what makes her the best potential double agent as well, though the price involves giving up everything including her own daughter to create the kind of world she believes her daughter should be living in, and she does this all without knowing much about the people she would be throwing her lot in with, though she knows they highly valuable a mysterious tome, known as the ‘Book of Noah.’