Michelle's Reviews > The Fox Inheritance

The Fox Inheritance by Mary E. Pearson
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's review
Dec 10, 2011

really liked it
Read from July 28 to August 05, 2011

Oh how I love Mary Pearson. I have yet to read a book she’s written that I didn’t just adore. The Fox Inheritance is no different. The combination of evil, terror, emotion and science is a work of art best experienced than described. Before I even attempt to do so I’ll just tell you, run (don’t walk) out and get this book. If you haven’t read the first get both and gobble them up in one sitting. They are fantastic!

Where to begin?

I think I’ll give the setting a go.

Pearson’s world building is wonderful. She manages to create a space and time that is primarily futuristic while maintaining some semblance of historical perspective. Though most of the character’s surroundings are appropriate to a time far off from now (presence of robots, advanced transportation systems, automation of menial tasks, and major advances in medical technology) there are also the small touches that give a feeling of appreciation for a time gone by. The home Locke and Kara are staying in feels a bit like a historical landmark as does Jenna’s homestead. When visiting Boston Kara and Locke both visit locations from their childhood that have both evolved and remained (in small ways) the same. Pearson has created a world that looks and feels overwhelmingly futuristic to be sure, but it’s the small pieces that orient people to what they already know that makes it all the more amazing.

How about those characters?

If you’ve read the first book in the series you’ve already met Jenna and know that she’s been the recipient of advanced medical assistance that assures she’ll be alive for longer than the average human. Centuries, in fact. She’s already somewhere in the 200+ year old age bracket and as of this book seems to still be going for quite a bit longer. To that end so are Locke and Kara though they have lived their lives in a far different way. That is where the interesting parts of the character development come in. Locke in particular has a certain immaturity (or perhaps it naiveté) about him, as Liz mentions in her review on A Chair, A Fireplace and A Tea Cozy, she says: “mentally he may have lived centuries, but since those centuries were in a dark void with only Kara for company, Locke has had no chance to grow or mature.” She hits the nail right on the head with this reflection. Locke and Kara have both remained in a sort of stasis. As far as they are concerned, despite the span of time, all they know is the lifestyle they were living when they perished. Waking up hundreds of years later didn’t really make much of a difference to them. Now it’s all about re-discovering who they are and learning how to live a life they never imagined.

Can I just say that Pearson did a phenomenal job of portraying the sheer terror and agony of Locke and Kara’s lives as they were trapped in their black boxes? Because she totally did. The nothingness that surrounded them created an eerie abyss where they knew they were alive in some way while still unable to free themselves. Can you even imagine? It was just horrifyingly realistic and scared the bejeepers out of me in the best possible way. Not only that but it pulled the heart-strings. How can a character that lived through that type of life for so long be unsympathetic? Even carrying on the worst possible behavior there has to be some compassion for the circumstances that brought them to that point.

Pearson crafted the perfect plot for this follow up. It made sense to me that Locke and Kara would be brought back as Jenna had. It made further sense to me that the way in which it was done was reflective of the length of time between Jenna’s salvation and current day. Medical advancements (many as a result of Jenna’s journey) made it possible for their return to happen at all but most particularly given the fact that neither’s body made the trip with their minds. At the root of it all is Dr. Gatsboro who readers later find out is not the person he makes himself out to be. Dr. Gatsboro is their savior and then becomes their caretaker up until the time they run away. The beginning of the book is spent at Dr. Gatsboro’s compound where Locke and Kara are introduced but it then very quickly moves on to the race between Locke and Kara to get to Jenna first. You see, once they find out she’s been alive longer than they have there is a degree of discontent. Particularly from Kara who is bitter and full of vengeance.

Jenna is a wise woman, using her ability to bridge the gap between the long ago past and the now she helps Locke acclimate to his new life. She still has walls built up as a result of her own journey though, she is not entirely trusting of those around her. This serves her well in a variety of instances and most especially with Kara. For her part Kara is shrewd and cunning, she is spiteful and wants Jenna to pay for what she perceives to be the sin of being able to get out of the abyss earlier than they. But I actually ended up feeling for Kara. It stands to reason that a person would lose their ability to be rational about certain situations after so much trauma emotionally and physically.

Like it’s predecessor The Fox Inheritance has a multitude of conversation starters that make it an excellent book club selection. Outside of the obvious ethical questions of whether it’s right/wrong/appropriate to bring someone back to life, there is a fantastic discussion to be had on humanity. I posed several questions in response to Liz’s review of the book (linked above) that I think it appropriate to mention again here. Think about it….In a time where bots show so much feeling and emotion and when humans are made more and more of synthetic matter where does one end and the other begin? What defines being a bot or a human? Also, there is fascinating debate to be had about ownership of said humans. Kara and Locke were technically created so does their creator own them or are they free to do as they please? Does having one’s mind equate to having freedom or is it the body? There are a host of other topics and questions that would also be worthwhile to discuss and question.

So, in case you’ve missed it, I really liked this book. A lot. It’s an amazing series that is worthy of your time regardless of your genre preference.

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Reading Progress

07/28/2011 page 1
0.0% "Here's to hoping this is as good as the first!"
08/01/2011 page 1
0.0% "Going into this one with high expectations!"
08/03/2011 page 38
13.0% "Kara has made her first stop in crazy town. Poor Locke is in trouble now."
08/04/2011 page 181
60.0% "Shout out to Andover! Makes me love the book even more :)"
08/04/2011 page 264
87.0% "It's pretty obvious to me what is going on with Kara at the moment. Not what one would normally think but I have an idea."
08/05/2011 page 304
100.0% "I loved Locke, poor tortured boy! Never a fan of the open ended ending but I did enjoy this one."

Comments <span class="smallText"> (showing 1-6 of 6) </span> <span class="smallText">(6 new)</span>

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Kimberly Whoa I didn't know this one had a sequel...

Michelle Kimberly wrote: "Whoa I didn't know this one had a sequel..."

I know! Isn't it great news?

Tiff I can't freaking wait!

message 4: by Carrie (new) - added it

Carrie *gasp* You got this at BEA, too? DYING!

Michelle I got it signed to boot!

message 6: by Kathryn (new)

Kathryn can't hardly imagine what this book can be about, first book was quite frightening enough... but I guess in a very weird way I'm very looking forward to it!!

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