I'm sure many people have read this book, but in my group of friends I'm the only one who has. When I've presented this book to them, they react with blank stares. And perhaps by also backing away slowly, lest they scare Crazy Book Lady.
|I told you I'd do a post about this. Not when|
I said I would, but I figured this would fit better.
The story takes place in a country called Opium. Like the name suggests, this country makes its revenue by farming and exporting opium. It is situated between the US and Mexico (now called Aztlan), and is run by Matteo Alacran Sr (who is about 140 years old, give or take). It gains its workers in the poppyfields by capturing illegal immigrants attempting to cross the border either way. These immigrants are implanted with a computer chip, which renders them zombie-like and only able to do what they are told to do - so, farm until they're told to stop - eejits, in the book. As a result, El Patron (Matteo Alacran Sr) has a pretty good system going on, and won't get investigated by authorities either side of him due to their immigrant agreement.
It's not only the drug shenanigans that could theoretically get El Patron iced - he also harvests clones. And so enters our protagonist, Matteo Alacran Jr.
Matt's age varies throughout the book, but his purpose in being cloned is to provide organs for El Patron. Because, you know, that's how you survive if you're a crazy drug lord/dictator - you clone yourself, and kill them off to harvest new organs for yourself. Matt, however, has survived out of some creepy memory that El Patron had (he had some vast amount of siblings, all died but him - Matt was supposed to receive the life his siblings did not). Matt is treated cruelly due to his status as a clone, yet he possesses an unbelievably kind nature. He has a rather many few adventures - I won't go into them here, because you need to read this book and discover them for yourself.
Nancy Farmer deserves all the accolades that have been bestowed on this novel, and then some. Go to your local library, support a bookstore, do whatever it takes to get your paws on this book. You won't regret it whatsoever. The storyline is as engrossing as anything I've read, she deals with some very thought provoking issues, and her characters are fleshed out to the point where I wanted to leap into the pages and hug Matt, see his tattoo, explore El Patron's house and Celia and Matt's hut.
Ay, I love this book massively. Unfortunately I don't own it. (Will accept any gifts.)