Katrina Mountfort's Forbidden Alliance was published by Elsewhen Press as an e-book in September 2015. The paperback edition will be published in November 2015.
Information about Katrina Mountfort:
Katrina was born in Leeds. After a degree in Biochemistry and a PhD in Food Science, she started work as a scientist. Since then, she's had a varied career. Her philosophy of life is that we only regret the things we don't try, and she's been a homeopath, performed forensic science research and currently works as a freelance medical writer. She now lives in Saffron Walden with her husband and two dogs. When she hit forty, she decided it was time to fulfil her childhood dream of writing a novel. Future Perfect was her debut novel and the first book in the Blueprint trilogy. Forbidden Alliance is the second of the trilogy.
Click here to visit the author's official website.
Information about Forbidden Alliance:
The Blueprint trilogy takes us to a future in which men and women are almost identical, and personal relationships are forbidden. In Book 2 of the trilogy, more than sixteen years have passed since Caia and Mac, now renamed Cathy and Michael, fled their oppressive lives, although the plight of those who remain in the Citidomes is never far from their minds.
Cathy and Michael now have three children and Citidome life is a distant memory. But for Cathy, village life is no longer idyllic. While Michael is famed as the leader of the Alliance of Outside Communities, she is left holding the baby. When a chance arises for her to fulfil her potential, will she make the right choices? Michael, however, is too preoccupied to notice Cathy's personal struggles. Heightened security in the Citidomes has resulted in fewer escapees, a shortage of young farmers and a depleted gene pool in the village. While Michael unveils his most audacious plan yet to liberate rebels from the Citidomes, will his devotion to the cause cost him the love of his wife and daughter? And will his plan endanger his life, as well as those of his allies?
Forbidden Alliance is also the story of Cathy and Michael's sixteen year-old daughter Joy. Fiercely intelligent but with limited career options, she fights against the future her father has planned for her: marriage to village boy Matt. Forbidden from seeing Harry, the nomadic canal-dwelling boy she has loved since childhood, she finds friendship from an unexpected source: BodyPerfect ex-citizen Ryan, whose perfect Citidome looks are less than perfect in the outside world. And her illusions about life in the Citidomes are about to be shattered.
In addition to the issues explored in Book 1 of the trilogy, Forbidden Alliance poses additional questions, including those of leadership, family loyalties and whether it is possible to justify the sacrifice of human lives for the greater good.
Forbidden Alliance is the second book of the Blueprint trilogy. The first book was Future Perfect.
A REVIEW OF KATRINA MOUNTFORT'S FORBIDDEN ALLIANCE
Because Katrina Mountfort's Future Perfect, the first book of the Blueprint trilogy, is one of the best modern young adult science fiction novels I've ever read, I was eager to read Forbidden Alliance. I was pleasantly surprised when I noticed that Forbidden Alliance is everything that I hoped it would be. It's much better and more enjoyable than many other similar kind of novels, because the author has created an original vision of dystopian future where people's lives have changed in many ways and personal relationships are forbidden.
Forbidden Alliance is just as good and entertaining as Future Perfect. It's the kind of sequel that all sequels should be like, because it builds on from what happened in the previous novel and takes the story further. It continues the story of Caia and Mac in an intriguing way, because it tells of Caia and Mac's daughter, Joy, and gives readers a more detailed look at harsh life outside the Citidomes. The story is exceptionally immersive and addictive because of the well-created and three-dimensional characters.
Forbidden Alliance can be recommended to young adults and adults alike, because it will be of interest to both readerships. It's a passionately written young adult novel that will charm its readers. Katrina Mountfort has written the story so well that it will please readers of all ages who are looking for an entertaining science fiction story to read. It's something special for fans of good YA sci-fi stories.
Here's a bit of information about the story:
- The events take place in the future - the year is 2189. Caia and Mac have changed their names and are now called Cathy and Michael.
- Joy, Cathy and Michael's daughter, is becoming a young woman. She is attracted to a young man, Harry, who lives a nomadic life with his mother and transports goods. She is forbidden to see him, because her father doesn't like their relationship.
- Cathy gives birth to a new baby on the same day as Joy has her birthday. Cathy feels trapped in the village, because she has to look after her family while her husband travels a lot and meets other people.
- Michael is the president of the AOC (the Alliance of Outside Communities) and travels all over the country. He's planning on releasing people who have been taken to the correction camps...
This is the beginning of an intriguing and well written story.
The narrative shifts effectively between Joy and Cathy. By writing about the happenings from both of their point of views, the author adds a lot of depth to her story, because Joy and Cathy are different yet similar kind of characters who have strong emotions and feelings about many things.
Here's information about the characters:
- Joy is a young woman who wants more from her life than what her father has planned for her. She's an intelligent woman who's interested in medicine. She's in love with a young man, Harry, but her father doesn't approve of their relationship. Joy is forbidden to see Harry, but they have illicit meetings, because they want to spend their lives together.
- In this novel, Cathy is older and has found herself a place in the village. She feels trapped at home, because she has a new baby and her husband is often away. Her life feels different than before, because she can't part of the important happenings and has to spend time at home. Her feelings towards her husband are put to test due to recent happenings.
- Michael's life has changed a lot, because he has become a president of the Alliance of Outside Communities (AOC) and has to travel a lot outside the village. He spends little time at home, which causes stress to his wife. He loves his family, but he has important matters on his mind that will affect all of those who live outside the Citidomes. He has to think about what's best in the long run for everyone, because people have died and many villages don't have enough young people to give birth to new children.
Katrina Mountfort writes realistically about Cathy and Michael's marriage and their problems. Most of their problems arise from Cathy being home and Michael spending a lot of time traveling around the country, because they don't spend much time together and they seem to think differently about important things. One of the things that causes them problems is how Michael feels about Joy and Harry spending time together.
Reading about what Michael intended to do to release people was interesting, because his plans contained many risks. Releasing people was important to Michael, because only a few people had escaped during the recent months and the gene pool in the village was almost depleted.
The author writes well about life in the village and how people get along with each other and what kind of arguments they have. It was interesting for me to read about what how the villagers live their lives and how they make decisions about important things. Descriptions of how the village is kept alive are wonderfully realistic and nuanced, because the author pays attention to many minor details.
Family life is described perfectly in this novel, because the author pays attention to little things that other authors often forget to mention. It's great that all the joys, disappointments, fights and tensions that are part of family lives are explored in a realistic way without sugarcoating, because too many authors tend to sugarcoat these things.
It was interesting to read how Joy reacted to what she found out about life in the Citidomes. When she read her mother's journal that was given to her as a birthday present, she began to realise what it was like to live in the Citidomes. Joy didn't know much about life in the Citidomes, because the villagers - including her parents - refused to talk about life there. I think that readers will be very interested in reading about what happens when Joy gets into serious trouble and the last illusions of life in the Citidomes fade away from her mind.
Katrina Mountfort has done an impressive job at creating a dystopian future where people live in the large Citidomes and want to be BodyPerfects. Life is easy for BodyPerfects, but living safely inside the Citidome is a living death for everyone who's curious about what's happening around them. Curiosity is extinguished so that no-one will rebel and cause problems. The Citidomes may seem to be ideal places to live in, but in reality they're nightmarish places for those who question certain things and want to live their lives in a different way.
It's nice that the author wrote more about life outside the Citidomes, because it was enjoyable to read about how people lived in the villages and how they tried to survive.
The conditions outside the Citidomes are fascinatingly primitive and rudimentary, because people have to live in a simple way. Life is harsh, because medical knowledge is insufficient, giving birth can be dangerous and people die in accidents etc. People have a lot of work to do, because they have to raise cattle and farm land in order to survive. If people don't do basic things, their lives can be difficult and survival may not be possible.
One of the best things about this novel is that the author knows how to write well about romantic elements without alienating her readers. Her approach to romantic elements feels realistic and believable, because her characters are realistic and have feelings of their own. I enjoyed reading about how the author handled Joy's feelings toward Harry and how she felt about Matt and Ryan.
I think it's good to mention that the author excels at writing about what the characters feel about the happenings, because their feelings are explored in a surprisingly deep way. Because the main characters, Joy and Cathy, are realistic characters, it's fascinating to read about their feelings. It's easy to identify with them and their problems.
I enjoyed reading about how Katrina Mountfort wrote about what are acceptable losses when people are freed from the correction camps, because explosions could kill and injure many people. The characters had to think about if it would be acceptable to sacrifice people for the greater good. This added quite a lot of harsh and interesting realism to the story.
In this novel, the author explores two important themes: the right to love who we want and the fight for freedom. She handles both themes admirably and doesn't burden her readers with too many explanations and doesn't underline anything.
What has happened in the Citidomes is fascinatingly strange and unsettling, because people's lives have changed a lot and the change has caused people to abandon many things that they once held dear and what made them human. The TV show called Vile Bodies is an unforgettable invention, because it's a brilliantly black parody of reality TV shows. In Vile Bodies, people laugh at people who are different and don't bear resemblance to what's considered to be normal. One of the most unsettling things is that people are not allowed to have personal relationships.
The author writes well about things related to sex and sexuality. She writes fascinatingly how people are attracted to each other and what happens between those who are in love with each other. I think it's great that she has courage to write about affection and sexual situations in a realistic way, because they're part of people's lives.
This novel sheds more light on what happens in the correction camps in an intriguing way. It was interesting to read about what the people had to do there and how they were being looked after, because the conditions in the correction camps were not ideal.
Katrina Mountfort has a talent of making the story flow easily. She immerses her readers into her story by writing realistically about the characters and their lives (she makes her readers care about the characters and their fates). This is something that not many authors are capable of achieving when writing young adult novels.
In my opinion, Katrina Mountfort brings a breath of much-needed fresh air to young adult science fiction genre with this novel and its predecessor. Her story is strong and full of passion, and her characters are so vivid that it feels like you're reading about real people when the story begins to unfold. This is one of the reasons why I love this novel so much and why I can wholeheartedly recommend it to all readers.
I look forward to reading the final novel of this trilogy, Freedom's Prisoners, which will be published in 2016. It'll be interesting to see how the story reaches its conclusion, because the journey so far has been exciting and rewarding.
I think that Forbidden Alliance will be of special interest to readers who are familiar with the YA science fiction novels written by Suzanne Collins and Veronica Roth. If you've enjoyed reading The Hunger Games and Divergent trilogies, you'll most likely enjoy this novel very much, because it's similar yet different from them. It tells of dystopian future in a slightly different kind of way.
If you enjoy reading good YA science fiction, please do yourself a big favour and read Katrina Mountfort's Forbidden Alliance and its predecessor, Future Perfect, because they're among the best YA science fiction novels ever written. There's a strongly beating human heart at the core of both novels that will make you fall in love with the story and the characters.
My final words are:
Katrina Mountfort's Forbidden Alliance is excellent entertainment for readers who enjoy reading YA sci-fi novels that have depth in them.