Sunday, January 5, 2014

Book Review: Life First by RJ Crayton

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links.

This is the first book in a trilogy - you can read my review of the second book, "Second Life," here. (The third book is in the works, and I'm impatiently awaiting its release!)

If you would like to win a FREE digital download of the second book in this series, be sure to enter the giveaway (giveaway runs January 5th through January 15th 2014).

 Life First (#1)Life First by R.J. Crayton
My rating: 4 of 5 stars  

This book cost me an entire night’s sleep!

I’m a mom of four (including an infant, an 8 year old with autism, and two teenagers), so my reading time is both limited and precious. So is my sleeping time. And this book cost me several hour’s worth of sleep, because I just couldn’t stop reading. I literally stayed up all night to finish reading it. That’s pretty much the highest recommendation I can give a book.

I adore dystopian literature, both YA and adult – some of my favorite books include Lois Lowry’s “The Giver” and George Orwell’s “1984”. I believe that fans of these books (or more recently, The Hunger Games) would greatly enjoy this book.

Life First is set in the future in the former United States of America. The exact year isn’t specified, but we learn that 80% of the population was wiped out in a pandemic 100 years or so ago. The Federation of Surviving States (FoSS) has a government and laws that are loosely based on those of the US, but with changes that were made due to the drastically reduced population. One of the laws is that every healthy person must be registered in a database; if someone needs something you can provide in order to survive – like your blood, your bone marrow, or one of your kidneys, for example – then you are legally obligated to provide the necessary organ(s) and/or tissues (so long as you have an 80% or greater chance of living through the surgery). This is what the national slogan of “Life First” means.

Kelsey is a woman in her early 20s who has been “marked” to donate one of her kidneys to a stranger who needs one. Given certain experiences in her life, she is not a supporter of the Life First mandate, and makes plans to escape having to make the “donation.” But in the FoSS, there are heavy consequences for fleeing a donation, and if she’s caught she will be punished severely.

On the negative side (and I’m grasping here), there are some plot issues that might require a little suspension of disbelief. I can’t go into details on those issues without giving away spoilers, but I will say that those issues are very minor, and well worth suspending disbelief for. There are also a couple of small editing errors (typos/spelling – things like using “it’s” instead of “its” or “gate” instead of “gait”).

This is a very fast-paced, quick read, yet some of the ethical questions it raises about pro-life versus pro-choice and to what lengths society should go to preserve life could be discussed long after the book is finished. I really enjoyed this book, and finished it in one sitting (or as close to “one sitting” as a mom is allowed to have); highly recommended!

View all my reviews

If you would like to purchase a copy of this book, you can find it on Amazon - the Kindle version is currently just 99 cents (as of this posting; remember Amazon prices can change at anytime without notice).

DISCLAIMER: I received one or more of the items mentioned herein free for review purposes; nonetheless, all opinions expressed are my own except where noted otherwise. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commissions 16 CFR, Part 255 Guides, Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.

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