Review of The Rule Of Claw by John Brindley
Genres: Apocalyptic, Survival,
Publisher: Orion Children's
Release Date: 03/03/2008
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We enter a futuristic world and meet a band of sixteen year olds who were abandoned in isolation at an early age. They're educated partly by gleaning facts from the few books in their possession, but primarily through their experiences of survival which features death and danger. A new threat emerges when the teens transcend their own rules and eat animal flesh. Ash, the leader, is kidnapped and becomes a pawn in the power struggles between the formidable raptors. In these beautiful beasts, she glimpses new forms of evolution which make her consider her own humanity. Soon she learns the frightening truth of their origins. And realizes the dangerous implications for herself and her friends.
I'm going to raise my hand now I tell you all that I judged this book by it's cover and I am ashamed of myself. My cover isn't quite like this cover. My cover is a hardback and it's gorgeous - no dust jacket, just a green cover with gold writing printed on to it, not yellow like in the image. But here's the cool part. It's a scaly green cover. So with a title like The Rule Of Claw and a scaly green cover, I thought this was a Middle Grade novel about dinosaurs.
It's not. In fact it's a very clever, apocalyptic Young Adult novel involving human and animal mutations, religion, evolutions and some seriously nasty gigantic leeches which will literally sucker themselves onto you and not let go until either you or it is dead. It's like the Harry Potter/Voldemort thing. Only gross.
The kids in the ASP camp use a shorter language than ours but it's easy enough to understand. I liked this attention to detail as the adults left the kids in the camp a long time ago plus there's this freaky evolution thing going on, so it makes sense that their language will have changed over time. Ash is their leader and for most of the book, the main character. Sometimes it switches to a different character.
There's a sense of danger running all the way through the book. I never got a sense of safety and Ash was always moving somewhere else or finding herself in terrible situations. Somehow along the way she makes unusual friends of both the Rodents and the Raptors (there's sort of dinosaurs in this). I liked that for once, the idea of the future wasn't a Dystopian society with fancy vehicles and rules. In this, there are no rules. Everything is constantly shifting and changing and there are no leaders, just different groups of animals and humans trying to survive a changing world.
I guarantee, if you choose to read this it will be one of the most unusual books you have read. I highly recommend it. It's also a standalone novel, despite having a sequel the sequel features a different main character and is just set in the same world.