Today, the 3rd May, is publication day for Teri Terry's debut novel, SLATED!
And what better way to celebrate than with a giveaway! With not one but two signed copies up for grabs, and it's open to anyone no matter where in the world you may be!
Kyla’s memory has been erased,
her personality wiped blank,
her memories lost for ever.
She’s been Slated.
The government claims she was a terrorist, and that they are giving her a second chance - as long as she plays by their rules. But echoes of the past whisper in Kyla’s mind. Someone is lying to her, and nothing is as it seems. Who can she trust in her search for the truth?
SLATED ~ a tall tales & short stories review
Where to start? When there's so much to recommend about Slated. If I was to sum it up in a sentence I would say it was - an intriguing, page-turning, intelligent and extremely well-written YA novel. But that’s too dry and doesn’t do it justice – far from it.
There are so many aspects I’d like to discuss about the story but that would entail spoilers and as a fervent hater of spoilers I refuse to do so. And this is a book that deserves more than that this is a book that every reader deserves to enjoy, savouring each new revelation as they turn the page because if there’s one thing that struck me about the book it’s how well plotted and crafted it is.
Teri Terry has created a future, dystopian Britain where memories are erased, lives are stolen and society lives in paranoid fear. The main character, Kyla, returns to this world as a new person, her old memories erased and a new life to live. The story unfolds and builds like a pressure cooker; gradual, growing in intensity, and I was wholeheartedly on the journey with Kyla. I found myself questioning the motives of everyone involved, so engaged was I in the story.
Much of the story is set in a country village and away from the confines of the hospital and city. The settings are characters in their own right and become as sinister as the storyline. What starts as an idyllic setting, full of fields and open spaces, fresh air and nature, starts to become claustrophobic and frightening. Where is safe? Just who would I trust? Who should Kyla trust? And with her dreams and fragments of memory can Kyla or those around her even trust her?
In Slated, the plot is key. It’s an intelligent, sophisticated, thought-provoking, subtle yet sometimes disturbing story that is utterly believable and so well-conceived. The author references our current times of economic breakdown and civil unrest, and grounding it in our reality makes such a future world frighteningly believable. And at the heart of any good dystopian novel should be the sense that this imagined world is possible, that this could be our future. Some of the Teri Terry’s ideas are original and imaginative – the Levos for example, are a fantastic and frightening idea (but if you want to know what a Levo is you’ll have to read the book.)
The characters feel real. They aren’t larger than life or caricatures, they are like you and me, like our teachers and parents, and that is a major strength of the story. Even the oppressive Lorders are understated and this only adds to how sinister they are. Nothing in Slated is in your face, but there’s a constant, oppressive undercurrent of a society and its citizens being monitored and constantly watched. No one is really free.
I can’t write this review without mentioning the writing itself. Agents and editors often talk about ‘voice’ and how important it is. I have my own thoughts on ‘voice’ and for me it is something that stays with me, that is distinctive and memorable. I think Teri Terry’s writing, and especially for a debut author, has just that - a distinctive, memorable voice. It has a rhythm and feel that seems so fitting for the story, in places it feels brittle, fractured, much like Kyla herself. And Teri Terry makes each word count, there are no superfluous words, no convoluted sentences, but there is a poetic beauty to much of her prose while also feeling totally fresh and modern.
I feel I should make one criticism - I did feel there was a touch too much running. There I've said it!
In conclusion, Slated is a sophisticated, intelligent, thought-provoking dystopian thriller that I would highly-recommend. Watch out Suzanne Collins and Sophie McKenzie, there’s a new writer in town and I predict great things for Teri Terry. I think she’s a writer to watch and I hope to see many awards won and hopefully, sometime soon, Slated, the movie.
Fancy a sneaky peek inside...
Fists of waves claw the sand as I force one foot to pound after the other. Scramble up, slip down, repeat. Faster. Eyes fixed on dunes ahead. Don’t look back. Mustn’t look. Ragged breath; in, out; in, out. Still I run.
Just when lungs might burst and heart explode, a crimson star on the sand, I stumble.
A man turns back. He pulls me to my feet and urges me on.
It’s getting closer.
I cannot stand, and fall again. I can run no more.
He kneels to hold me, and looks in my eyes. ‘It’s time. Quick, now! Put up the wall.’
So I build it, brick by brick. Row by row. A high tower, like Rapunzel’s, but this has no window, nowhere to lower my hair.
No chance of rescue.
‘Never forget who you are!’ he shouts, grips my shoulders and shakes me, hard.
A blanket of terror obliterates the sea. The sand. His words, the bruises on my arms and pain in my chest and legs.
All right, I haven’t got much experience on which to base this judgement. I may be sixteen and I’m not slow or backward and haven’t been locked in a cupboard since birth – so far as I know – but Slating does that to you. Makes you lacking in experience.
It takes a while for everything to stop being firsts. First words, first steps, first spider on the wall, first
stubbed toe. You get the idea: first everything.
So today feeling weird and unknown could just be that.
But I am biting my nails and sitting here waiting for Mum, Dad and Amy to pick me up at hospital and take me home, and I don’t know who they are. I don’t know where ‘home’ is. I don’t know nothing. How can
that not be…weird?
Bzzzz: a gentle warning vibration from the Levo at my wrist. I look down: I’ve dropped to 4.4, the wrong
side of happy. So I have a square of chocolate and it starts a slow climb up as I savour the taste and watch.
‘Much more of your nerves, and you’re going to get fat.’
Dr Lysander is framed in the door. Tall, thin and white-coated. Dark hair pulled straight back. Thick glasses. She glides, silent as a ghost the whispers say, always seems to know before it happens when someone falls into red. But she’s not like some of the nurses who can bring you back with a hug. She isn’t exactly what you would call nice.
‘It’s time, Kyla. Come.’
‘Do I have to? Can’t I stay here?’
She shakes her head. An impatient flick of her eyes says I’ve heard this a million times before. Or, at least,
19,417 times before, as 19,418 is the number on my Levo.
‘No. You know that isn’t possible. We need the room. Come.’
She turns, walks out the door. I pick up my bag to follow. It is everything I have but it’s not heavy.
Before I shut the door, I see: my four walls. Two pillows, one blanket. One wardrobe. The sink with a chip on the right side the only thing to mark my room as any different from the endless row of boxy rooms on this floor and others. The first things I remember.
So do you fancy a signed copy of Slated?
It's easy to enter!
Here's what to do!
- Leave a comment on the blog, say hi and give me your name. If you want to leave your email address that's great, if not, I'll be announcing the winners after midday on the 18th May, UK time. So make sure to check in here and on twitter.
- Retweet the competition details on twitter.
and Karen @KLLaing
- All entries go into a hat and two winners will be chosen at random.
- And it doesn't matter where you are in the world this competition is international and open to you.
Midnight, 17th May, 2012, UK time.
You might also like Teri Terry's guest post on Terror and the Teen