Publication Date: July 26, 2013
In Life First (Volume 1) by R.J. Crayton, in the future, 80 percent of the world’s population will be wiped out and people will be forced to give healthy organs to maintain those that remain. Kelsey Reed has been ordered to give her kidney to a man that is her match. To refuse the donation means facing the death penalty. Is it possible to escape in a society where everyone knows where you are at all times? With the help of her boyfriend, Kelsey means to find out. Life First (Volume 1) is in the new adult genre of fiction. New adult takes the optimum character age from late twenties to early thirties and shifts it to late teen and early twenties.
The author, RJ Crayton, gave me a copy of this novel in exchange for my review.
Much like one of my favorite books of 2012, Creator Class (The Creator Class Series) by K.M. Breakey, Life First (Volume 1) is set in the future and is about a shrinking population and the challenge to survive. Breakey’s world was shrunk through a well-organized massacre and population control while Crayton’s vehicle is a pandemic that strikes on a global scale with laws that limit personal choice in a rather extreme way. The question becomes “is it the responsibility of the people to maintain the quality and quantity of the species?” When humans start to fail, is it the responsibility of donor matches to keep them going by giving their own vital organs? The government in this book would say so and if you’re so selfish as to refuse, go ahead and try. They’ll kill you and take all of your organs. It’s all part of the Life First (Volume 1) mandate.
Kelsey, as a character, is a hard read. Are we supposed to like her and admire her pluck or are we to see her as a selfish person for wanting the choice to do what she will with her body. Is this a theme meant to translate to the reader? The idealism of youth and the idea that one’s responsibility is solely about oneself’s? As the story develops, the character blossoms and the audience is able to get to know and identify with her to an extent. Her society is pro-life to an extreme; she’s not willing to embrace it and for some readers, Life First (Volume 1) may feel a timely read. It is up to the reader to decide if Kelsey’s stand is brave or stupid, and they might just relate that struggle to themselves.
The overt themes of the novel leave me hesitant to suggest it to some of my more politically driven friends. Life First (Volume 1) is a fabulously written book that they might twist and refer constantly, much like the classics Nineteen Eighty-Four and Animal Farm in political discussions. No one wants that.
Crayton’s plotting and writing style are very fluid. Descriptions are, for the most part, compactly written and designed to give the reader an eye-in-the-sky kind of feel. If there are errors in the work, I didn’t spot them.Life First (Volume 1) is very cleanly and professionally presented. That this is the first novel Crayton has written is astonishing, especially as journalists are used to writing about facts, and in my experience, tend to be somewhat wooden when they start writing. Reader see none of those traits in [easyazon-link asin=”B00DFNWFX4″ locale=”us”]Life First[/easyazon-link].
If you are a fan of dystopian novels but would prefer an older protagonist, this novel for you.
Read an excerpt and buy Life First (Volume 1) by R.J. Crayton on