Posted by Guest Writer on Mon, 15 May 2006.
“The Chrysalids” is a book, which is set in the future after what it is referred to by the characters as “The Tribulation”, which is believed to have been a nuclear war of some sort. The radiation from the war has caused mutations in the plants, animals and even the humans. With the continual risk of mutants, religion has been warped to decree that anyone or anything that does not adhere to the rules of the Lord should be destroyed. Any plant or animal that is too big or a different colour than it should be is destroyed by fire and this is also applicable to those people who are born with a mutation. However, there is one area, which has remained relatively untouched by the radiation, and that place is called Labrador. Within Labrador, there are many cities and there is one in particular called Waknuk where this story is based upon. We read about the world by following the main character whose name is David. David is the son of one of the most influential farmers in the whole of Waknuk and Labrador. David’s father is also one of the most religious people in the whole of Waknuk. He will kill every lamb, calf, fowl, plant or child that is born a mutant.
At the start of the book David meets a young girl called Sophie who seems so normal that a person walking down the street wouldn’t give her a second look. However when Sophie’s foot is stuck between a rock and David is forced to take off her shoe it becomes clear that she is not normal. By baring six toes on her feet she is classed as a mutant and she should have been destroyed at birth. However David doesn’t understand that such a sweet girl could be classed as a mutant by simply having two extra toes. But one of the adult farmers catches David and Sophie and she is forced to flee into the Fringes (the outskirts of Waknuk where mutants who have not been destroyed live and breed).
Later on in the book it becomes clear why David has such a hard time judging mutants because he is one! He, his cousin and some other children posses the ability to communicate telepathically with each other. Their powers are not very advanced and they are not always accurate but they communicate by something that they call “Thought Shapes”. The children can usually keep their special abilities undetected however with the birth of David’s sister Petra it becomes increasingly difficult as she too posseses the same special ability but Petra’s powers are far greater than the other children’s…
I do not want to give too much away from the book and I don’t believe that I have because this book has so many levels in it that it is impossible to say too much. However I will say this, the book is around 230 pages long and when one considers that Harry Potter is about 800 or something around that figure it is quite a small book to read. Even if you do not enjoy reading science fiction novels I would still suggest giving this book a go. The language in the book is not like that in many other books as it has not been updated or re-vamped since the time of its creation. I hope that everyone who reads this will take my advice and even if you do not ike the sound of this book try some of John Wyndham’s work, he wrote mostly short books sometimes only 100 pages so you do not have to commit yourself to reading it over a number of weeks.
- Review By bat_tree