On the Other Side is book 1 in “The Orleans Exodus” series by Nicole Aube. It is a dystopian novel and follows Hilaria and her friend Anthony in Orleans.
The city was flooded a few years back and got divided into two parts. Hilaria and Anthony live in the Quarter (the former French Quarter of NOLA) which is still flooded and the only way to move around is by boat. The people living in the Quarter are poor and don’t have the best lives. To get out of the Quarter, to have a better life and to live on the other side of the Wall, Anthony, Hilaria and other Quarter kids decide to join the NAP, the Name Acquisition Program. Every night the kids in the Quarter get hooked up on certain NAP machines that “steal” their memories which are stored by NAP. At 16 the kids in the Quarter participate in Surrender Day. They get placed in an artificial coma and will live through their worst nightmares. For each nightmare they face and overcome they get back a memory they lost during all the years hooked up to the machines. After awakening from the coma the kids get a new Name and Purpose and live happily ever after… so the NAP says.
The first part of the book is about Orleans, the people in the Quarter and their lives. It was interesting to read what happened to the old NOLA.
The second part of the book is about Hilaria’s and Athony’s nightmares. It was hard for me to get into the nightmares and the lost memories. For the most part it was kind of boring and the descriptions dragged too much. Plus, a few chapters were only a few pages long and then others were between 30-35. Maybe it’s just me but it really confused me.
The third part is about Hilaria and her awakening from the coma. The last part was actually the most interesting part.
I really liked the fact that the story was set in NOLA. I visited NOLA about 2.5 years ago and it was great – too hot and humid but great. The book described a lot of streets, sights and places I visited so I could picture the scenes very well.
I’ve read a few dystopian novels but unfortunately this one lacked of excitement and suspense. The story is very promising and has a lot potential but Nicole Aube should’ve developed the story a lot more.
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