A society with a corrupt government persuading its citizens to target a smaller group of citizens for being different and perceived as a threat to the public at large. Realistically, we don’t have to imagine this as dystopian fiction, but I’ll not drag us down that avenue. Dainel Sweren-Becker’s The Ones depicts just such a society and those who are fighting against the corruption.
Cody has believed that she’s a One all of her life. A child who was genetically engineered to have certain advantages based on a lottery. As the nation passes the Equality Act in an effort to help level the playing field for ordinary citizens who feel unfairly discriminated against, Cody and her boyfriend James learn that she’s not actually a One, shattering both their perceptions of who she is. Despite this new truth, Cody still feels compelled to fight for the Ones to have their equal rights that the Act is actively working to take away.
I’m typically a fan of dystopian fiction, but as the genre has reached a saturation point this story didn’t quite take its concept into a place that is all that new, which I found a tad disappointing–particularly as it sets up a needless “love triangle” (for lack of a better term for it) to be dragged out throughout the rest of the story arc. The story moves quickly, was enjoyable to read, and it sets itself up to have subsequent installments to more thoroughly explore this concept. There are plenty of parallels that can be drawn to various points in our history, both recent past and (very sadly) current, and how groups of people have been atrociously treated, making the narrative resonate easily with many different types of readers.
Overall, I’d give it a 3.5 out of 5 stars.