101 - Margaret Chatwin (Book read and reviewed for {Read It & Reap 71} in the Shut Up And Read group.)

After years of abuse at the hands of their father, Trigg and his sister Ren do the unthinkable: they defend themselves... and are taken down for this by the expeditive judicial system of the New Age Order, which sends them both to prison town 101. As Trigg decides to go looking for his sister, and discovers quickly that she has actually disappeared from the time of her arrivel, he gets to know more and more about this new little world he's stuck in, including the fact that 101 holds its own system of eat-or-be-eaten logics, and that nobody on the outside will do anything about it.

This novel was really a page-turner for me—I kept going on for more, and wasn't happy when I had to stop to do something else (like, oh, going to work). We don't get to learn that much about the characters; however, what I did learn was enough to give them existence. I liked how Trigg develops, how he learns to cope with his new surroundings, how he decides to take things into his own hands—yet at the same time, he remains a very humane hero, with his doubts, his fears, his emotions. Ren is a strong persona, too, who manages to stand up in spite of the odds. Characters such as Riker and Pintar, albeit not decribed at length, were quite pleasant to read about. As for the antagonist... all I'm going to write for now is that I so enjoyed hating that guy.

I think I would have wanted to see a little more of Ren, or more specifically, how exactly she managed to cope; the story being from Trigg's point of view, it was a little limited in that regard. (What happened to her, as we learn later in the story, is no bed of roses, and I very much doubt that even a strong persona would go through that unscathed.) Also, while this is a positive point in terms of the action starting quickly, maybe Ren and Trigg's former life could've done with a little more flesh. For instance, I found their father's behaviour a little strange (was he just a man beating his kids, or did he actually expect something specific from them?...), and I would've appreciated learning more about that, even if at the end of the novel only.