Resistance (Divided Elements #1) by Mikhaeyla Kopievsky
Published: KYRIJA (Jan 30, 2017)
Posted: Dec 9, 2016
(4.5 / 5)
In the post apocalyptic wastelands of France, one nation-state remains vigilant against a dying world. Within the walled city of Otpor, life has no uncertainties. Humans are created through artificial means. The process both eliminates disease and grants mankind with great skill and unparalleled ability. The Commonwealth of Otpor is a Utopia ruled by the consent of the people.
The only true crime warranting capital punishment? Freedom. Chaotic and unpredictable, all forms of resistance is abhorred. While jobs are chosen by people, one’s overarching role in society is immutable. People are bound by the templates used to create them. Is this virtual Utopia worth the high cost of artificial living? Is there more going on behind Otpor’s veils of peace and promise?
Resistance isn’t like other dystopian novels you’ve read. Otpor isn’t ruled by a ruthless dictator. Drugs, alcohol, and sexual activities in public are permissible. The futuristic society is split into four unique groups called Elements: Earth, Air, Fire, and Water. Fire value strength and enforce the law, Earth are laborers, Air are creatives, while Water Elementals are planners, thinkers, and scientists.
Faith propels life in Otpor. The Orthodoxy presides over all things and insist on the idea that all people possess an inner Element that calls to them, shapes them. Maximum efficiency is key to Otpor’s survival. This inner spark defines the Elementals and grants them great strength. Confined by the classes they’re both into, Elementals face many physical, mental, and social constraints.
In the shadow of a former Peace Keeper-turned-Resistance leader, Anaiya fights to clear her name and carve a place for herself among her fellow Fire Elementals. She’s as cold as ice and brutally efficient in her job of maintaining law and order (her post-human prowess reminded me of Aphrodite IX and Æon Flux). Upon witnessing a number of Resistance signs around Otpor, Anaiya is forced to make a life altering decision.
Will she let the fire within consume her or will she resist it?
A secret operation. An expendable test subject. What could possibly go wrong?
The society and people of Otpor are well designed and unique. Although you might be thrown by the idea of Elemental attunement, Kopievsky’s society is convincing. Each character you meet will seem real and fit into the Divided Elements social groupings with ease: whimsical Air are as diverse as actors and game designers. Two of the best characters, Seth and Kaide, are Air Elementals and share in their Air-signature creativity. But they have their own drastically different personalities as well. The author’s well constructed characters are excellent.
The speculative technology explored in Otpor fit the setting. Mental conditioning, drug-laced alcoholic drinks made with enhancer crystals, utilitarian wristplates for communications and media, all of it was fun and original. Resistance is speculative fiction at its core and the world it defines brings post-Paris to life.
One of the novel’s strengths is also a weakness. The reader experiences the night life and intrigue of Otpor through Anaiya’s eyes as she develops as a character. Her story is exciting and the people she meets do have an impact on her, but sometimes you’ll want to know what else is going on in the world. Plus she frequents so many Izakayas (bars) that you’re often left with a limited view of what’s actually an impressing setting. While I found that Anaiya’s story was somewhat predictable, it’s no less entertaining.
I would highly recommend this novel to fans of dystopian fiction such as George Orwell’s 1984 and Huxley’s Brave New World. The novel also reminded me of the video games République and the post-Paris cyberpunk adventure, Remember Me in setting and tone. But none of these other works do the novel justice: in Resistance, Indie author Mikhaeyla Kopievsky manages to create fresh and new dystopia worth exploring.
I’m excited to see where Divided Elements goes from here. It’s definitely a series to keep an eye on. If you’re looking a dystopian novel that’s original and entertaining, no look further. Resistance hits shelves 1/30/2017.
(This book was provided by the publisher in exchange for a fair and honest review. For a taste of freedom – and the Divided Elements world – check out Kopievsky’s free Cocktail Companion Guide.)