Regina Shen: Resilience
Within the world created by author Lance Lrlick your thoughts are not your own, your ability to fend for yourself is decided by others and freedom of speech and many liberties are only afforded to those who rule. Young people are placed in schools within a cast system, given jobs that most would never be able to endure or accomplish and those that are deviant, deviate from the norm are often eliminated or severely punished. Imagine living in a world where information is filtered by those that are in charge, books cannot be read if what they offer differs from their beliefs, and schools are aloud to impart knowledge that those that are considered wiser allow. Trying to learn more than you are supposed to learn and teaching young minds to flourish is not allowed. But, Regina Shen is unique and possesses qualities that often get her in trouble and she finds herself in detention many days leaving her sister, Colleen to have to wait for her to return them to their meager surroundings. With a mother who was exiled for quite some time to the swamps, learning to survive in difficult times and conditions made them stronger. But, when a storm brews and dangerous currents, winds and water are about to overrun their home; they are forced to go to higher ground for safety.
Winding up in someone called Aunt Vera’s house would last only a short while as her mother had to leave, she spent time bartering and trading and Regina and her sister Coleen remained. But, the storm surged and the end result was they all had to leave and unfortunately the bounty hunters found them and Coleen, Aunt Vera and her two daughters were taken as Regina fell overboard on Aunt Vera’s boat and from this point on had to fend for herself. Counting on her own stamina, understanding of how to survive, elude the bounty hunters and hope she will not be caught the authors relates some dangerous and heart stopping moments as she handles the currents, finds some way to make her boat withstand the huge amount of water and finding herself with a bad leg and foot that might turn infected. As the head of the head inspector of Antiquities is ordered by the governor to capture Regina for her DNA, the author relates that many of those in the Federation have not been able to produce more children and for some reason the lower class people or Marginals like Regina just might hold the key to avoiding extinction. But, Regina is smart, resilient and can withstand just about anything on her quest to find her mother. However, along the way she meets some that will betray her, others that will barter for her and hand her over to the bounty hunters and when Aunt Vera is in danger and uses her last ounce of breath to save her Regina finds her way along the rough waters, withstands the alligators, rats and dirty water and winds up face to face with a woman named Therese. No one gets away with doing nothing and although her leg is quite injured and she might lose it, Regina will not take charity and refuses help unless she can work which she does. But, resentments are high as Carla, the woman’s daughter feels that since her mother is the mayor or this place, she should not have to feed, and deal with the people that require food and three meals a day all the time. Although Regina is kind, wants to help her a friendship does not form and Carla finds a way to alert the bounty hunters that Regina was there hoping to barter for her.
Betrayals, deceits, lies and distrust are all part of what Regina will encounter, as the Governor is relentless in finding her even though she has Colleen. Regina is her only hope but can she remain two steps or more ahead of the bounty hunters and why did she see her mother with them before losing her way? What link does her mother have to the bounty hunters and where is she and why hasn’t she looked for her and her sister?
Finding her way once again she lands somewhere else and forms a friendship with a young girl named Fran. The weather is dangerous, the climate seems to be changing, moods are flooded with anger and the coast is rising causing floods as one young teen named Regina Shen cast over the seaside of barrier walls, needs to find her place within the world and safety before the World Federations’ department of Antiquities finds her. Ideas and thoughts that they allow and want heard and seen and filtered are what everyone learns. Knowledge from the past is hindered or disallowed. Living on salvage from the remnants of cities that have been destroyed or covered in water, books that have been banned that are classics and most of us would want to read, living in fear of your every thought, can Regina survive on her own?
Regina has a photographic memory and does her best to read books that the Federation has banned. Living in world without males who were killed, tortured or sent over the wall, the hope for the future lies in her DNA unless the Governor wants males brought back and used as studs. Is her DNA so powerful to avoid the loss of human life? Will she ever be safe again because everyone wants something and will trade for what they need to survive? Regina has to pick and choose her battles and her alliances as the storm rages on, the quest to find her family increases and the end result might mean her capture. While she is hunting for her family DeMarco, the head inspector of Antiquities is ordered to hunt for her. She is strong, healthy and capable of bouncing back each time something bad happens? Can she find a way to overcome all obstacles? Does she have what it takes to be resilient? Will she recover and adjust to misfortune and change? Adversity finds Regina but somehow she and Fran manage to escape the bounty hunters and Mo-Mere finds them and her journey begins. Helping her overcome her fever, allowing Fran to take what she needed and leave, Regina and Wendy would be schooled by Mo -Mere in survival skills, hunting, salvaging, fishing and her guidance and direction. Mo-Mere her teacher and soon to become like a surrogate mom as the mother she knows is not there, their lessons would help them join the Federation and appear to be one of them. Hoping to rise above in the caste system that considers Marginals nothing but froggies or swamp rats, hoping to not become working stiffs, but Professionals or more. But, first she and Wendy needs to regain their strength as each one asked questions that would show readers that these girls wanted more and would not tolerate what the Federation was dishing out. People are afraid and adhere to the caste system and yet others like Regina would not comply. Finding Colleen was paramount and when someone hands her Colleen’s necklace something within Regina snaps. Just who can be trusted? How far will the bounty hunters go to capture her? Rising up from a lowly Marginal all the way to Chief
A final confrontation that will surprise and shock readers as Regina stands her ground, finds a way to create an alliance that no one will expect and an ending that lets you know there is much more to come. Will she survive? Will Demarco take her in? What about what the Governor wants? Where is Colleen and where is her mother? Why is Mo-Mere so dedicated to helping her and others? The ending will leave you wondering how these people survive in a society where a select few make the rules, survival of the fittest does not always win out, food is pilfered, people sell their own children for supplies, food and endure the indignities of life when many falter because they have no Resilience to bounce and fight back.
Author Lance Erlick teaches many lessons to teens and young adults about trust, honesty, loyalty, love, understanding, hard work, survival and hope. Regina is a strong character whose survival instincts keep her from getting caught by the patrols. But, teens and young adults should understand that the author created a society in which girls, minus male counterparts, have to fend for themselves and often have to take a hard and dangerous line to stay alive. So, whether they have to take the life of someone or just hunt animals to eat, this is a society where this type of behavior is the norm. Learning to respect those that are there for you is important as Regina forges ahead often alone and hopes to find some common balance in her life before it’s too late. So, what is next: Vigilance: The Saga Continues
Fran Lewis: Just Reviews