I received this book for free from in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.The Moon Dwellers by David Estes
Series: The Dwellers Saga #1
Genres: Dystopia, Science Fiction, Young Adult
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In a desperate attempt to escape destruction decades earlier, humankind was forced underground, into the depths of the earth, creating a new society called the Tri-Realms.
After her parents and sister are abducted by the Enforcers, seventeen-year-old Adele, a member of the middle-class moon dwellers, is unjustly sentenced to life in prison for her parents' crimes of treason.
Against all odds, Adele must escape from the Pen and find her family, while being hunted by a deranged, killing machine named Rivet, who works for the President. She is helped by two other inmates, Tawni and Cole, each of whom have dark secrets that are better left undiscovered. Other than her friends, the only thing she has going for her is a wicked roundhouse kick and two fists that have been well-trained for combat by her father.
At the other end of the social spectrum is Tristan, the son of the President and a sun dweller. His mother is gone. He hates his father. Backed by only his servant and best friend, Roc, he leaves his lavish lifestyle in the Sun Realm, seeking to make something good out of his troubled life.
When a war breaks out within the Tri-Realms, Tristan is thrust into the middle of a conflict that seems to mysteriously follow Adele as she seeks to find her family and uncover her parents true past.
In their world, someone must die.
The Moon Dwellers is an interesting read about a society living underground after an apocalypse. The main heroine Adele is falsely imprisoned by the corrupt government because of her parents. She escapes and goes on a quest to rescue her father from a different prison, and figure out why she has a strange connection to the leader’s son.
I really enjoy dystopia and fantasy, and this was the first underground novel I have read since City of Ember. Like the people of Ember, the Moon Dwellers (and Sun and Star Dwellers) are living underground after an apocalypse. But with the Moon Dwellers, the scale is much larger. Instead of a single city, we are talking many cities and separate castes along with politics, conflicts, and strife. It is much darker than Ember but also much grander. I would say it is like a cross of City of Ember and the Hunger Games. One interesting difference is that with Ember, the physical world was crumbling and they were really on borrowed time. With the Moon Dwellers, society seems to be self-sufficient and the issues are more political/human nature/caste-driven. I do have to wonder how they manufacture everything they need when they are in caves, how they pulled off massive construction projects, where they get their electricity, and how they are able to produce food (like chocolate) when supposedly all of the plants of the surface were destroyed. But we are talking about the future here (at least 500 years) so perhaps they have advanced technology.
This book met my criteria for an excellent read: I didn’t want to put it down, I never got bored, and I wanted to out and read the sequel. And most of all, I enjoyed it. The action did get off to a slightly slow start as the world and characters are introduced, but then things really picked up once Adele meets some friends and starts her journey. The majority of the main characters are well developed and I cared about their fate. The bad guys are somewhat one-dimensional, but I guess that is somewhat believable actually since they are government-paid thugs. There were quite a few moments of incredible luck/coincidence but that is actually referred to in the book as part of the plot (and presumably will be explained in the next book). The pacing was pretty good and I was able to read the book in just a few days. Note there were a few spots of light sexual references so be advised for very young audiences.
All in all, I found this novel to be an excellent read and I am looking forward to reading the next book.