*I was given a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.
So, I just finished Fadeout and it was really good. First, I must say I liked the poem/song at the beginning of the book. It gives it a mysterious and ancient feel, even though the setting is several hundred years in the future. After reading the book, I went back and reread the poem and realized it was talking about the different classes of humans /sub-humans and their roles in society. The Tireans are the ruling class. The Faans are the "enforcers". The Ajaks are like servant class. Last and certainly considered least, are the Carillians. The Carillians are treated more like "stock" then humans. They even have their memories harvested as a form of power! But get this: the "humans" feel they are doing the Carillians a favor by having them locked away and using "the Machine" to basically wipe their minds because they are “inferior” and “defective” (because of something that happened to them during the “Radiation Age”). They are said to have strong uncontrollable emotions, unlike the "humans", and the Machine "frees" them of those emotional memories.
Silas and his older sister Malina are Carillians at a Cartiam (like a slaughterhouse) living their lives as normal as possible, which is in no way normal. They have tracking implants at the back of their necks, live in tiny cells and everyday are forced to go out to the Yard to "play" with the other minors (ages 8 to 18). The latter is a nightmare in its self because they are always being watched to see if anyone shows emotion. If they do show any emotion, that ups their chances of being picked to be taken to the Machine. The more emotional a person is, the more the Owner of the Cartiam can make off of their e-mems (emotional memories). Silas and Melina get to the point where they can't stand being locked up anymore and hatch a plan to escape.
The Owner is of course a Tirean (a cold, calculating, manipulative man), who happens to have a 13 (almost 14) year old son named Jamar. Jamar accompanies his father on his various business trips to the Farms, Cartiams and other places. All though Jamar is a Tirean, other Tirean look down on him for being the son of a "Farmer" (even though his father is owner of an “essential” multi-million dollar company). So, when Jamar and his father arrive at Silas' Cartiam, he convinces his father to let him have Silas as a companion. Jamar is thrilled to have someone around his age that has to respect him. Jamar believes what he has been taught since birth, that all Carillian are like "sheep", until he starts spending time with Silas. Silas has a mind of his own, is in control of his emotions and is even courageous.
The point of view alternates between Silas and Jamar. I believe this allows you to get both sides of the story, which gives you to better understanding of this world Adams' has created. This book really showed the thinking process behind having a whole group of people discounted, considered less than human. The background and history that were given made the story solid. The lies that were fed to the masses about the Carillians and what Jamar saw, at one point made myself question "Maybe something is wrong with the Carillians?" But to project the behavior of a few as the behavior of a whole group is called stereotyping. To treat them according to these stereotypes is prejudice. Plus, if you treated me like cattle and had me locked up, I’m sure I’d break down at some point as well. I say all of this to say: even though it was a sci-fi story, it didn’t have that “Just Because It Can/Is” feel. Which I feel is great because I am always asking “Why?”! Any questions that I still had at the end of Book 1, I am sure will be answered as the series progresses.
Even though Jamar is a spoiled brat, I must say that I felt sorry for him. I feel that Jamar was the more well rounded character but only because Silas had to always had to keep his emotions under wraps (so it works). With this being said, it really was touching how much Silas cared about his sister. And I love the ending! The scene where Silas finally realizes his true purpose and Jamar picks which side he will support. It is definitely a cliffhanger. Adams’ has written a well-thought out story that is nowhere near being over. Can't wait to read Book 2!
(reviewed 2 days after purchase)