Earth. Humans. Science Fiction/Dystopian. A juxtaposition between tradition, now, and the future. This concept is introduced in the opening sentence where Daniela is gazing at a hologram of earth suspended over a wooden mahogany conference table. The opening scene is a metaphor for Homo sapiens with their past and future acted out by Lorien characters.
Return to zero is the final in the Lorien Legacies Reborn series, where zero is the only option. What does that look like for earth, United Nations, and for humans with or without superpowers?
A theme of good versus evil lurches between teams with shifting alliances. Divide and conquer is a useful strategy in this game of life and survival. Fantasy seems uppermost but there are enough elements of realism to anchor the story.
Writer Pittacus Lore reminds us this is not a cartoon. Some scenes are emotionally brutal. Within this story fights are real. Nasties can get you. There is inevitability, a lack of choice for humans with superpowers. “Ran herself had been looking for a way... to avoid using the legacies she hated”. Language is accessible.
Although the book is long at 449 pages, demanding fortitude of the YA reader, it reinforces the resilience and fortitude of the main characters who seek an ethical outcome.
The reader is invited on an educational world tour where characters are in the United Nations, Mexico, India, the Himalayas and beyond. Descriptions of Italian opulence and grandeur contrast with increasing bloody battles.
Thought provoking and fast paced. Super powers and artificial intelligence (AI) seem an entirely plausible future for Homo Sapiens.
Title: Return to Zero: The Lorien Legacies Reborn
Author: Pittacus Lore
Publisher: Penguin Random House
Publication: July 2019
Ages: 12-16 YA
Reviewer: Michele Ayres, Librarian, Motueka High School Library, Tasman
Opening sentence: Daniela gazed up at the hologram of the globe as it did a slow rotation above the polished mahogany conference table.
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