O Brother, Where Art Thou?

SFX - - Reviews - Dave Golder

re­leased 7 April 390 pages | Pa­per­back/ ebook Au­thor Eu­gene Lambert Pub­lisher Elec­tric Mon­key

Some­times you don’t need

to rein­vent the wheel, just make a re­ally, re­ally good wheel. De­but nov­el­ist Eu­gene Lambert mer­rily de­liv­ers a whole bunch of YA tropes in a clas­sic three- act struc­ture with The Sign Of One, but he does it with style, wit, pace and a strong cen­tral premise.

Kyle is an un­ex­cep­tional kid grow­ing up on a harsh, to­tal­i­tar­ian, dump­ing- ground planet for back- of- the- queue hu­man colonists, where twins are re­viled. One out of ev­ery pair will be­come an evil mon­ster dur­ing ado­les­cence, so young twins are forced into labour camps un­til the signs start show­ing; then the evil twin is killed and the other be­comes an out­cast. When Kyle is shot in the face, but re­cov­ers, his mum has some­thing she needs to tell him…

Yes, there’s a bit of a “cho­sen one” vibe, but don’t groan. There’s a twist. It’s not a des­tiny any­one would want to be cho­sen for. And there are a lot more sur­prises too.

The Sign Of One is won­der­fully grue­some in places, and ben­e­fits from scarred, la­conic and self­ish but ul­ti­mately like­able he­roes. And now the stan­dard set­ting- up devices have been ticked off, it’ll be very in­ter­est­ing to see where the se­ries goes next.

Two of the re­sis­tance lead­ers are called Bal­lard and LeGuin, surely in trib­ute to au­thors JG Bal­lard and Ur­sula Le Guin.

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