Title: Sneak (Swipe #2)
Author: Evan Angler (@evanangler)
Pub. Date: September, 2012
Summary: In a future United States under the power of a charismatic leader, everyone gets the Mark at age thirteen. The Mark lets citizen shop, go to school, and even get medical care—but without it, you are on your own. Few refuse to get the Mark. Those who do . . . disappear.
Logan Langly went in to get his Mark, but he backed out at the last minute. Now he’s on the run from government agents who will stop at nothing to capture him. But Logan is on a mission to find and save his sister, Lily, who disappeared five years ago on her thirteenth birthday, the day she was supposed to receive her Mark.
Logan and his friends, a group of dissenters called the Dust, discover a vast network of the Unmarked, who help them travel safely to the capital city where Lily is imprisoned. Along the way, the Dust receives some startling information from the Markless community, opening their eyes to the message of Christianity and warning that humanity is now entering the End of Days.
When the Dust finally arrives in the capital, it seems that all their careful planning is useless against a government that will do anything to bend its citizens to its will. Can the gentle words Logan has found in a tattered, banned Bible really stand against the most powerful military the world has ever known? Can Logan even sacrifice his own freedom, choosing to act through faith alone?
Genre: YA, Dystopian
“The Marked have community. Boil everything else down and that’s what you’re left with. That’s what they have right now that we don’t.”
Sneak, the sequel to Swipe (published earlier this year) is what I consider dystopia lite: a middle grade-friendly post-apocalyptic novel without all the excess gore and violence of the series that are currently in the spotlight. I’d say readers are better off having read Swipe before jumping into Sneak (or at the very least have a decent amount of knowledge as to what the first book/this series’ world is all about). For the most part Sneak does a decent job getting readers up to speed, but there were multiple times where I found myself lost and confused. Totally my fault, by the way. This was not the book’s fault.
Sometime in the future there’s a war and, once again, America finds itself torn apart. The result: Marked citizens (literally. These folks get a barcode-type mark when upon turning 13) and the Markless (who live their lives in hiding).
Sneak kicks things off with Logan Langly, the one and only boy to escape DOME facilities. He’s now on the run and determined to find his sister (who has been kept in a prison for the past five years). Logan’s an interesting character. It’s clear he’s made out to be a savior symbol; he becomes a beacon of hope for thousands of Markless who have never even met the boy. On the other hand, for countless people he’s seen as someone who’s made life much more miserable. Since Logan’s escape, DOME has really been tightening the reins and amping up their security. Markless have to CONSTANTLY move from place to place.
One idea I thought was neat was an Underground Railroad-esque system set in place to aid Markless on their way to a safer place. This system has a nautical theme however, and I liked it! A hook meant there was danger nearby (usually in the form of untrustworthy Marked who appear to want to help), an anchor announced a secure shelter, a captain meant there was someone close who could transport Markless to the next spot, etc.
“My job is to cover our tracks,” Shawn said. “Completely. I’m not about to cut loose just because of a surprise along the way. I don’t work like that.”
And Erin looked at him admiringly. From one hacker to another.
“Besides,” Shawn said. “I don’t like free rides if I don’t know who’s driving. You wanna know who’s helping us, don’t you? Don’t you think it’d just the tiniest bit suspicious?”
There are quite a few characters packed into this short novel. Unfortunately, because of the book’s length, the sheer number of characters, and the extremely quick scene changes (multiple scenes per PAGE at times!) it became a little hard to get to know this group of kids. For the most part I felt as though I was a mere spectator, watching the drama unfold from afar. I never felt that I was there in the midst of it all. With some of the more minor characters, I completely forgot about them until they were mentioned and even then I couldn’t recall the first thing about them.
My biggest complaint about Sneak would be the setting. I know it takes place in the future – not sure on the exact date; it’s never stated in this novel (perhaps in the first book?) – but some things just didn’t add up. I get that it’s post-apocalyptic. Technology changed. Yet the parents all knew (and said they grew up with) radios…and somehow the children had never heard of them before. Same with cars. I can’t imagine the world could change that drastically in the span of a single generation. Also, at one point a Bible is found, yet the group doesn’t know what it is and writes it off as just another book. Again, a single generation?? It doesn’t make sense.
All-in-all, Sneak was a solid book and a good dystopian novel for children who want to get into the genre but aren’t yet ready for the violence that typically goes along with it. Don’t make the same mistake I did: I highly recommend checking out the first book before reading this one.