The Alliance by Gerald N. Lund
I am probably the only LDS woman in Utah who has never read a book by Gerald N. Lund. Seriously. The Work and the Glory never really appealed to me (gasp!). When my MIL suggested this book, I was skeptical. She even loaned me the book (a compilation of 3 of his novels), but still I resisted. It sat on my shelf for a month while I read every other book I could get my hands on during Christmas break. But finally, one night, I pulled it off the shelf and started reading. Mark and I have started reading for 15 minutes or so before we go to bed, so I guessed I'd make it through the first couple of chapters and then go to bed.
I stayed up all night reading.
I read and read, telling myself I'd read just one more chapter, but at the end of that chapter, I had to read one more, and then one more. Around midnight (after about 3 hours of reading), Mark grumbled at me loud enough to make me put down the book and go to bed. But I couldn't sleep. I tossed and turned and dozed but no real sleep. When the baby fussed at around one, I got up with him (even though he probably would have gone back to sleep on his own anyway...) and then stayed up, sitting on my bathroom floor, to finish the book. I read even faster than normal and finished it by 5 AM.
So, that tells you something about this book (and something about me). I can't say exactly why I couldn't put this book down, but, even if you do find that you *can* take a break from reading the book, it's still a good book. :)
The Alliance is a futuristic, sci-fi, adventure type novel. It takes place in the US after a (presumed) nuclear war has destroyed nearly everything and everyone. Eric Lloyd lives in a village that has survived the fallout. They live simply, like early settlers, riding horses, farming, weaving their own fabric, etc, in a self-sustaining valley. One day, visitors come and take Eric and his fellow villagers to join a more modern utopian society, where there is no crime, no war, no hunger -- none of society's ills -- thanks to surgically implanted devices that keep everyone in line and happy with life. However, Eric refuses to stay in line, and the adventure begins.
Final word: A-. I loved it, but I can't say exactly why, and I'm sure I wouldn't be nearly as captivated reading it again in a few years, as I am with all of my truly favorite books. If you're into utopian scenarios (as I am), this is definitely worth a read. The plot is original and fresh (which can sometimes be a challenge for utopian society books), and both just predictable enough and taking unpredictable turns to keep you reading.