Review of “In the Beginning”, by Jane Dougherty

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In the beginning, there was the Garden.

But we are not going back that far.  This “beginning” tells the tale of three individuals whose fates intertwine to forge a new Garden.

Rachel, assistant to her scientist husband, Raphael, and a scientist in her own right…at least until the Protector and the Elders of Providence took that away from her.  Visions come to her, creatures unknown to her scuttle across her path.  She sees…colors.  In a grey and brown city, vibrant colors on strange things around every corner.

The elders fear this power, and so Rachel steals away with her husband and their child, Deborah.  They make it as far as the outside of the crystal shield that houses Providence, and then in one tragic moment, Rachel has to go it alone.

But she is never alone, as long as she has the power.

Hector Deodato, a little boy abused and neglected, but still proud of the father who treats him terribly.  His pride for his father is stilled completely in one terrible day, and with one fatal blow–to another boy.

Jonah, whose father is killed at work, and whose mother is near death.  The Protector’s own Black Boys will not allow anyone out of their houses during the day, so when Jonah needs help the most, it is denied him.  When the inevitable happens, Jonah escapes to the Underworld of the so-called Ignorants and also finds his way out of the Dark Citadel.

He finds the most surprising things in a place all of Providence fears–another culture, another way of life.  He also hears the call of someone else searching for a better life, and waits for the day when they will meet face-to-face.

This short novella is the perfect prequel to “The Dark Citadel”, Jane Dougherty’s first published book of the series.  It does a tremendous job of summing up answers to questions readers may have had, and points to the next book in seemingly effortless prose.  Ms. Dougherty’s descriptions are so well-written that the reader can almost feel the oppressiveness of the city and the wind-blasted heat of the desert outside the crystal walls.

If you like YA dystopian novels, this is definitely a series you should pick up.  I can guarantee you that you won’t want to put it down!

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