Live in Infamy (A Companion to the Only Thing to Fear)
Live in Infamy (A Companion to the Only Thing to Fear)
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Annotation: In this alternative history, it has been eighty years since the Axis won World War II and took over America. Now, sixteen-year-old Chinese-American Ren is drawn into the resistence, intent on fighting the regime that executed his mother.
Catalog Number: #158609
Format: Publisher's Hardcover
All Formats: Search
Copyright Date: 2018
Edition Date: 2018
Pages: 294 pages
Availability: Available
ISBN: 1-338-11109-4
ISBN 13: 978-1-338-11109-5
Dewey: Fic
LCCN: 2017042927
Dimensions: 22 cm.
Language: English
Kirkus Reviews
In an alternate world in which the U.S. lost World War II, a young man grapples with the cost of revolution.Almost 80 years ago, the United States was divided among the Axis powers, and Imperial Japan now controls the land from the Mississippi River to the Pacific Ocean. Sixteen-year-old American Ren Cabot helps out at his father's tailoring shop and has tried to avoid trouble ever since his mother's brutal execution for running an illegal newspaper. It's a difficult life for biracial Ren in this democratically stunted world. His father is white, and his mother was Chinese-American. Richmond plays this cleverly against the backdrop of a fascist regime that believes itself to be "superior in every way—mentally, physically, and especially racially." When his father stumbles home injured one night, Ren decides to join the Resistance and aid in a dangerous plot to kidnap the Japanese princess and storm Alcatraz—now a laboratory that conducts experiments to create engineered superhuman soldiers and that may possibly house Ren's deepest hopes. In this stand-alone companion to The Only Thing to Fear (2014), Richmond skillfully embellishes a dystopian fantasy world shaped by actual events in history. However, readers may be frustrated that the narrative often shoulders plot explanations—secondary characters launch into long, implausible confessionals to tie up loose ends—and there are numerous far-fetched reveals. The historically enticing premise is brilliantly crafted, but the story too often becomes ungainly. (Alternative history/dystopian adventure. 12-16)
School Library Journal Starred Review
Gr 58 The Allied powers have lost World War II. The United States, now sliced into pieces held by Japan, Italy, and Germany exists under strictly enforced racial and social hierarchies. The story is set in the Japanese-controlled Western American Territories, where ruling monarch Crown Prince Katsura uses threats of being sent to jail, re-education centers (housed in the former Japanese concentration camps), or execution by the Imperial Army's Ronin Elite to keep the populace under control. The Ronin Elite are "anomalies" possessing a gene enabling them to kill with a look or a touch. Despite this, a resistance movement is growing bolder and the frustrated Crown Prince is becoming increasingly repressive. Ren Tsai, son of a white American man, was forced to watch the execution of his Chinese American mother for treason. He secretly took up her work and became a resistance propagandist known as The Viper. Circumstances force Ren to come forward and assist in a daring plot which will dramatically increase the rebel movement's strength. The straightforward narrative has few twists, and characters are developed just well enough to tell the story. Social issues have as much weight here as the historical elements. The simplicity of the story works in the book's favor; potentially challenging material is accessible to middle grade readers, but there is enough action to hook older ones. VERDICT This is a good introduction to historical reimagining for middle grades; all readers will be engaged with the handling of social issues as well as revelations about the secret pockets of resistors, their plots, and their battles with authorities. Carla Riemer, Claremont Middle School, Oakland
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School Library Journal Starred Review (1/1/18)
Kirkus Reviews
Word Count: 79,860
Reading Level: 6.3
Interest Level: 7-12
Accelerated Reader: reading level: 6.3 / points: 13.0 / quiz: 193873 / grade: Upper Grades
Reading Counts!: reading level:5.7 / points:19.0 / quiz:Q77751
Lexile: 890L

What if the Axis powers had won World War II?

In the eighty years since the Axis powers won World War II with their genetically engineered super soldiers, America has changed drastically in the hands of the unforgiving victors. But there are still those who aspire to what the country used to stand for: freedom for all.

In the Western American Territories, Ren Cabot has lost nearly everything to Imperial Japan's rule. After the public execution of his mom for treason five years ago, Ren and his family live under constant scrutiny of the Empire, afraid that one wrong step will rip apart what remains of their family for good. However, when a chance encounter with a resistance group offers Ren an opportunity to save lives and quite possibly topple the government, he agrees to their deadly plot. But his role will lead him straight into the heart of the enemy, and if caught, death would be a much better fate than what the Empire will do to him. . . .

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