Fleshers: Newport City Book One (Alison Croggon & Daniel Keene, Newport Street Books)
Dez is a ‘flesher’, a naturally born human of the subclass now subjugated by ‘pinkers’, the cloned elite. Dez lives in the inner district of Newport, which is relatively safe compared to the outer areas. Despite the increasing issues with Newport City security, the dangerous environment and the secrets she keeps, Dez’s life isn’t so terrible—until rising tension prompts the City to seek ways to dispose of the flesher problem for good, and Dez and her family and friends are caught in the firing line. Fleshers is pure speculative fiction. While science-fiction explores the potential of current scientific knowledge, speculative fiction uses creative licence to explore more unusual ideas, and Fleshers exemplifies this, with plausible world building underpinned by perhaps less plausible science. It offers a grim dystopian vision, holding a mirror to current societal disparities and ugly elitism, not unlike young adult novels The Hunger Games and Divergent. As the story goes on, this dystopia becomes less futuristic and more fantastic as the lines between technological advances and supernatural events begin to blur. The effect is a book that draws readers through an action-packed, multi-layered narrative and will leave them with the desire to learn more about the complex and unusual characters.
Tehani Croft is a lecturer in teacher-librarianship, a publisher and literary awards judge