Saturday, May 16, 2015
The main character is Carrington Hale, and she has just come from the Choosing ceremony. This ceremony is one that every girl goes through at a certain age. She has trained and been schooled her whole life in how to be chosen by a boy or man to become a wife and mother. Girls who are not chosen go to a life of service for the city, never to get married, or see their families again. There is no second chance. All of this is done because of a time in the past when there was a drug created that was supposed to keep people from getting any diseases. Unfortunately it soon killed off everyone that had received the vaccination. Soon only those who weren't able to have any help from the cure were the only ones left, and they tried to recreate a safe world to live in. This was done by creating the religion that they all now live under. The sixth truth of Veritas, their God, is that "Not to be chosen would yield a cruel fate of my own making." And this is where Carrington is left at the beginning. Somehow she was not chosen. One very unusual thing about that is that she is one of the higher classes of families, so it is really strange that she is not chosen. But as they are taught as they grow up, it is all God's will what happens. So now she is what is called a Lint, or a servant. She will have a menial job, live in a dorm with other girls who are also Lints, away from her family, with no chance to meet a man and get married.
She does meet a CityWatch Guard that seem nicer than the others. The guard, Remko Brant, is a man who will also not be getting married, and he seems to find an interest in Carrington as well. Some men don't end up choosing, they end up also in service, but still have better lives than the girls do. Especially since one of the things preached by the church is that "women were created to be the help-maids of the people, brought up to understand that their true purpose is to serve their husbands and children." Remko is at the status he is because he has a stutter.
The book isn't just Carrington going to this horrible life. There is also a murderer out there. Someone who is killing Lints. Poisoning them from the inside basically. We do get occasional glimpses into this person's viewpoint. We also get chapters that we see what is going on through the minds of the Guard, as well as one of the twelve Authorities, Isaac Knight. Along with the murders, there has been another big changing event. Authority Knight's wife has passed away without giving him an heir. So he will be given a chance to choose another wife. Another thing is that there is a man named Aaron out there that is preaching a different type of God. One that has already chosen each and every person. That they have value just in being themselves, not in serving the way that the Authorities say they must. All these things will bring about many changes and twists in Carrington's life, putting her in danger, at times giving her new hope, and at other times taking that hope away.
At the beginning when she goes through not understanding why she wasn't chosen, well, I have to say that is something I have kind of felt my whole life. She was raised to be chosen to be married, have a family, etc. I always assumed the same would be part of my life. At 42, that will most likely never be a part of my life, and while I've faced it and mostly come to terms with it, I still felt all the things Carrington felt as if it was once again me at that time in my life when it did hit really hard. The ending was a good one, not all perfectly happy ever after, but still an ending that I was happy to have.