The Torturer’s Daughter ( 275 pages approx ) by Zoe Cannon has its listing in the YA/Dystopian category of novels and is a pleasant as well as thought-provoking read. The protagonist Rebecca (Becca) Dalcourt gets a call from her dearest friend Heather in the middle of the night who says that she is now at Processing 117. The news electrifies Becca and she , in spite of her timid nature and apathy for that particular place decides to visit Heather to respect their friendship. She then faces the cruelest reality of her life, that her mother Raleigh Dalcourt is the most infamous torturer of the regime and she herself has executed Heather’s parents for being dissidents.
Dissident !! the word hovers around the whole plot creating an eerie and sinister effect which is very much needed for a dystopian or apocalyptic fiction. The degraded and oppressive authority keeps on hunting for dissidents and whenever it finds the least trace of connivance, the suspects are executed ruthlessly. Becca shudders to know the fact and her love for innocent Heather makes her protective towards her. But there are much more secrets which she still has to unfold about her mother and her empire, Processing 117 ! Becca tries to hack her mother’s computer and the truth which reveals before her eyes determines the future moves of her life. She tries hard to convince herself for not going against the woman who has given birth to her but fails eventually. But, still, the knot between the mother and daughter exists somewhere , someway. The battle of myriad emotions has been delineated with accurate details so that the reader can relate with the agony and dilemma of Becca.
Meanwhile , Heather succumbs to the pressure of the totalitarian authority, joins the Monitor and her friendship with Becca becomes just a memory. There come Jake,whose mother and sister died because of Becca’s mother…she executed them. Becca wants to help Jake so that he could save his father and himself from being arrested by the Internal and in the process Becca becomes a dissident too. But this is not the end . For once Becca comes to know that Jake’s only mission is to kill her mom , she tries to face the situation in her own way. She tries to explore a solution beyond dissident, torturer .Even in the worst of times, relationship matters, love and emotions matter. She thus prepares herself to fight her own crusade in her own way.
Pros : Zoe Cannon has a unique way of story telling and even the not-so-significant characters have been portrayed with minute details which had made the story all the more interesting. The character of Becca has been beautifully portrayed and a deep psychological insight to her character makes it easier for the readers to understand her. The suspense and tension created in the narration has a characteristic of its own, a sharp relief or sometimes a casual situation has been created to release the tension , and it works ! absolutely ! The subtlety of the romance is another point for which I should give the author more credit. Being an YA fiction , it was necessary. The whole narration is from the POV of Becca and is consistent till the end. Moreover, the author is absolutely successful to create a dark,arcane, tension-filled atmosphere .The mother-daughter relationship and all the related complications has been portrayed in a convincing manner making it a fabulous one-sitting read for me.
Cons : Nothing has been clearly stated about the place and time of the narration. A few more details about the mentioned Processing or Government would have helped the readers to make it more credible. The first few chapters I find a bit slow-paced .
The book has an awesome open-ended ending, or we may say, the end is the beginning for it. I would love to read more from Zoe Cannon and is absolutely recommendable for those who love Dystopian narratives .
From my side it’s **** 4/5 .
About The Author :
Zoe Cannon writes about the things that fascinate her: outsiders, societies no sane person would want to live in, questions with no easy answers, and the inner workings of the mind. If she couldn’t be a writer, she would probably be a psychologist, a penniless philosopher, or a hermit in a cave somewhere. While she’ll read anything that isn’t nailed down, she considers herself a YA reader and writer at heart. She lives in New Hampshire with her husband and a giant teddy bear of a dog, and spends entirely too much time on the internet.
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