Kelsey stood in a long line of ragged people as she did every week, waiting to receive her weekly rations. But the rations were getting smaller and the people were worried. Had life always been like this: hunger, want, and disease? As far as Kelsey knew, it always had, but when she finds the journal of Henry Martin everything begins to change. Will she be strong enough to fulfill a prophecy?
Kelsey lives in a small village in a world where a loaf of bread, some turnips, three cabbages, and a small bag of potatoes is supposed to feed her and her father for a week. But Kelsey says nothing. The sin of causing dissension is nearly the worst sin in this world, with only the sin of hoarding being worse. The society is completely dominated by Enforcers, keeping the villagers in a constant state of anxiety. Everyone gets exactly the same house, furniture, etc. When Kelsey’s mother dies, her mother’s chair is given to a family whose third chair was broken beyond repair. The family has waited for nearly a year for a replacement.
This kind of equality pervades every aspect of Kelsey’s life, including education. “’Equality calls for sameness. Those who are more gifted must come down to the level of the least in their group of peers. Sameness will bring peace.’ This was one of the many laws all citizens memorized as children. And why it was such a rare thing for anyone to leave the village and go on to higher education.”
When Kelsey finds the journal of Henry Martin, she realizes that things haven’t always been like this. I found Kelsey to be a very believable character. She is faced with some hard facts demonstrating that the system, which was originally set up to protect Mother Gaia, is in fact corrupt and abusive. A few are living well at the expense of the masses. Kelsey’s reactions to the ideas in the journal are realistic. And when she discovers that she is meant to fulfill a prophecy, she is understandably shaken. At the same time, she realizes the importance of what she must undertake.
The village is described in great detail and felt altogether too real for anyone’s comfort. I really rallied behind Kelsey and the others in the underground resistance. The pacing is excellent and there are twists and turns within the plot which build tension. The ending of the novel does bring the events of the book to a suitable stopping point, but I sure hope that the author is going to write a sequel to let us know what happens to Kelsey.
Those who enjoy dystopian fantasy are sure to be captivated by The Village Green.