It’s been a while since I read a straight dystopia book. I did read The Fandom, but that had an extra layer on top of the basic dystopian story line, so The Fire Sermon felt like a good choice to return to a genre I’ve read a lot of. The premise is pretty simple. Hundreds of years after some kind of nuclear catastrophe, every baby is born a twin. All twin pairs have one strong, perfectly healthy child (the Alpha) and one with some form of mutation – generally physical, but sometimes an Omega is born with the gift of the Sight. So far, so simple. Then from there it’s your standard oppressed/oppressors dialogue.
When Zach and I were born our parents must have counted and recounted: limbs, fingers, toes. The complete set. They would have been disbelieving – nobody dodged the split between Alpha and Omega.
Born as twins. Raised as enemies.
One strong Alpha twin and one mutated Omega; the only thing they share is the moment of their death.
The Omegas live in segregation, cast out by their families as soon as their mutation becomes clear. Forced to live apart, they are ruthlessly oppressed by their Alpha counterparts.
The Alphas are the elite. Once their weaker twin has been cast aside, they’re free to live in privilege and safety, their Omega twin far from their thoughts.
Cass and Zach are both perfect on the outside: no missing limbs, no visible Omega mutation. But Cass has a secret: one that Zach will stop at nothing to expose.
The potential to change the world lies in both their hands. One will have to defeat the other to see their vision of the future come to pass, but if they’re not careful both will die in the struggle for power.
There were some interesting concepts in this book. The aversion to technology as what caused the destruction of the world and the oppression of the lesser class of people was pretty standard, and fairly well done. It was interesting that Alphas and Omegas remain always linked – when one suffers an injury or illness, if sufficiently severe, the other will feel it too. And when one dies, the other dies. So the oppression of Omegas is constrained by the fact that they can only be ground down, not left to die, lest their Alpha twins die, too.
but overall, I wasn’t wild about this book. it just felt pretty forgettable. The main story took too long to get going, with a lot of background about Cass growing up and the background information necessary to build the world. I was left bored and checking the percentage remaining before the main plot points actually started running.
There was nothing specifically wrong with the fire sermon, and maybe if I hadn’t read so many dystopia I’d like it better. But it just feels very forgettable. There are two more books in the series, and the first installment ended well – with some resolution, but a larger plot arc still ongoing. However, it didn’t hook me enough to convince me that I must immediately pick up the sequel. If it shows up in the library I might give it a go, but for now, my journey ends here.