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Anna by Sammy H.K. Smith

Anna by Sammy H.K. Smith
5
Book Name: Anna
Author: Sammy H.K. Smith
Publisher(s): Solaris
Formatt: Hardcover / Audiobook / Ebook
Genre(s): Dystopian
Release Date: May 25, 2021

The Government has fallen, society is broken, and to survive in the land you need to be intelligent, cunning, and tough. Above that though, you need to be watchful.

The towns and cities are walled communities which protect those within and distrust those without. Each maintains a small armed force, and there are those who traverse the wilderness between them; bringing news, trading, and forming a tenuous network.

Anna was watchful. She was careful. It wasn’t enough.

Which is where we join her, and her story is one you need to be prepared for.

The author will not shelter you from the reality of life in this broken land, she will not hold your hand through the dark times that are coming, and she’ll demand you read, that you understand, and acknowledge it all.

In return, you’ll experience every single emotion. You’ll be angry (and I was so angry at times), you’ll be scared, but you’ll be hopeful, you’ll build strength and resilience alongside Anna as you read and experience. When you emerge at the end, and I read this book over two days, you’ll be grateful to the author.

I am convinced this book will be divisive. There will be hundreds and thousands, like me, who recognise the truth’s contained in this story, who appreciate the honesty that shines through the scenes and wrenches at your emotions. There will be those who are frightened by those self-same scenes—who might need to take a break, a chance to reflect, and then come back to it. I’d definitely encourage the latter to do exactly that—reflect and come back to reading.

Which begs the question, what is it about this book that makes me say these things?

Firstly, the author’s “real job” is one that dives deep into the dark side of human nature—she confronts it on a daily basis, she sees the harm we can do to each other, and it is from this position of knowledge she writes.

Secondly, the broken society is dominated by strength and fear. Strength, not of character, but of arms and force—the towns rely on those with less of a conscience, with less empathy, to defend and to keep them safe. And those inside the towns, while appreciating the role of the defenders, fear them too.

Thirdly, Anna is a strong character, she is resilient, determined, courageous, but she is broken by the abuse she suffers at the hands of her captor. It is inevitable that, given her situation and context, she does all she can, all she must to survive—the author does not revel in this, but presents it honestly. For this reason, you burn with anger, you drown in sadness, and wish for release.

You stick with Anna through it all because, despite everything that happens, there is a fire within her, a spark that never dies, and hope it will catch light one day and sweep everyone who has ever hurt away.

You stick with Anna because she could be any of us. There, but for the fickle finger of fate, go I.

You have to read to the very end because you need to know what happens. It would be unfair to leave her there—and only by reading can you release her and yourself.

There are moments of joy in the book, moments of love and laughter. The darkness is lit by those moments.

Strange as it may sound after all that; I loved this book. It challenged me, drew emotions to the surface, gave me pause, time to reflect, to think, and created a believable dystopian world for it all to happen in.

Buy it. Read it.

I received this book as an early ARC from the author.

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4 Comments

  1. Avatar Kris Richards says:

    Fantastic review. I loved this book. It was powerful and heartbreaking.

  2. Avatar Allan Bott says:

    Thanks for the imformative review. I’ve pre-ordered a copy and I’m looking forward to diving in!

  3. Avatar Hazel says:

    I’ve been devouring and ARC of this everything change I get. Brilliantly insightful, powerful, necessary. I love it ??

  4. Avatar Ellie D. says:

    Thank you for sharing this great review. ‘Anna’ sounds like a dark but complex emotional adventure and I was sold by the time I read “only by reading can you release her and yourself.” (Maybe that’s my saviour complex though!) Books that have you reflecting on them for hours/days/weeks afterwards are some of my favourites and I’ll definitely be checking this one out.

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