Title: Intermix Nation
Author: M.P. Attardo
Publication date: March 5th 2013
Genres: Dystopia, New Adult
From the author—
Intermix: to mix together, blend
North America, paragon of diversity, is gone. From its ashes, a new nation has arisen – Renatus – where the government segregates the surviving population into races, forbidding interracial marriage, mating, and love.
Eighteen-year-old Nazirah Nation is a pariah, an intermix, born of people from different races. When her parents are murdered in the name of justice, Nazirah grudgingly joins the growing rebellion fighting against the despotic government.
Overwhelmed with grief, consumed by guilt, Nazirah craves vengeance as a substitute for absolution. But on her journey to find the girl she once was, Nazirah must learn the hard way that nothing … no one … is purely black or white. Like her, every human is intermix, shades and hues of complex emotions. And those who can take everything away are also the ones who can give everything back.
It must be difficult for any author who wants to write young adult dystopian fiction to do so without being accused of derivative storylines and concepts that are weak shadows of the books that have come before and gained great popularity, books such as The Hunger Games and Divergent. Such comments could be made about Intermix Nation, with some justification, but I think the key to creativity with these later books depends on what is done with common ideas.
Yes, it’s true that society has been fractured into a central government and surrounding dependent provinces and rebellion is fomenting in the outliers but there the similarities begin to morph into something different. The dissolution of the country you and I know came about when the people “in charge” after the Final War decided that America’s biggest flaw was its diversity and that, with so many cultural, religious and racial differences, failure of the system was inevitable. Nearly everything of importance in Ms. Attardo’s novel stems from this belief that the only way to resolve this is by a brutal purification and separation of the races. In essence, this is a study of racism, the great harm that comes from such thinking, and the potential for redemption.
Nikolaus and his sister, Nazirah, were born from the illicit union of two people from different provinces and, because of that, are “intermix” and, thus, impure and excluded from society. Despite that, they were brought up to be proud, well-educated and ready to fight for what is right. Nazirah, though, rebels against what is expected of her with tragic consequences. What will be asked of her next will prove to be nearly impossible and will ultimately change her future forever. Perhaps most difficult of all are the changes that will happen to Nazirah herself.
There are a number of characters in this story who play important roles and one of the author’s talents lies in her character development. Whether I liked them or not—and some I liked very much indeed—most were so distinctly drawn that I could almost see and hear them in my mind. The overlying plot might be considered just a bit weak because of the unavoidable comparisons to earlier dystopians but there is no doubting the vitality and strength of the core story, the task that Nazirah must undertake.
One other thing I’ll mention is that, although there are occasional flaws, the author quite obviously took care in the construction and final production of this book. Such attention to detail and editing added a level of pleasure in reading that I truly appreciated and elevate this book above many self-published novels. I don’t think Ms. Attardo plans a sequel to Intermix Nation (and it is a comfortably complete story) but I’ll look forward to whatever this author writes next.
Reviewed by Lelia Taylor, November 2013.
About the Author
M.P. Attardo is a twenty-something, part-time writer, full-time daydreamer. She has a college degree … is still trying to figure out what ever to do with it. She loves amateur baseball commentating, heckling, and overindulging. And putting her bizarre, gritty thoughts into words for all to read.
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