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The Record Keeper

(Record Keeper #1)

3.56  ·  Rating details ·  303 ratings  ·  71 reviews
The Record Keeper is a visceral and thrilling near-future dystopia examining past and present race relations.

After World War III, Earth is in ruins, and the final armies have come to a reluctant truce. Everyone must obey the law—in every way—or risk shattering the fragile peace and endangering the entire human race.

Although Arika Cobane is a member of the race whose backbr
Paperback, 464 pages
Published June 18th 2019 by Titan Books (UK) (first published June 18th 2018)
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Average rating 3.56  · 
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 ·  303 ratings  ·  71 reviews

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Mar 09, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2020-read
An unusual and complicated book, requiring some time and thought to process and understand.

I was a bit confused at first, because there is so much left unsaid that you just have to glean from actions and events, from conversations, and from the inner monologue of the main character, Arika. At times it felt like listening to a conversation between two people from a country wholly foreign to me, making it a challenge to put everything in context.

I wasn't sure how I felt about the book for much of
L. Penelope
Jun 14, 2019 added it
Recommends it for: Fans of NK Jemisin
Shelves: political, sci-fi
The Record Keeper grips you from the first page, sucking you into a deftly crafted dystopian future where liberation is barely even a dream. This moving story of a young woman's struggle against mental and physical bondage, tells an important new-old tale and challenges us to begin the fight for freedom in our community and in ourselves. It's the start of a much larger story, and one well worth reading.
There was something so compelling about this story, even though I often felt like I had missed critical parts of a conversation while I was reading. It's a post-apocalyptic world, and Agnes Gomillion's protagonist is one of several young people training to become Record Keepers in Kongo, the country/territory in part of America that was responsible for producing the food for the last remaining people on the planet.
Arika starts the story proud and exuberant and strong as a baby, and by the time w
nick ✦ readbyray
Jun 19, 2019 rated it liked it
If you would like to hear my non-spoilery thoughts on Record the Keeper, read on;

First Thoughts ✨
I found the first chapter very confusing, as I do with must dystopian books. It showed our main character Arika as a child, and how brave and strong she was. She was ready to fight for what she believed in. Then, we jump to her being ‘thought a lesson’ - this is where my mind was like ‘Handmaid’s Tale’ this book was closely to linked to it where it was a horrible world they lived in, but it f
Sep 16, 2019 rated it really liked it
Solid debut novel! So many beautiful, hard, complicated themes woven through the text that painfully mirror past and present America. The story left some story lines open which may just be the reality of life or maybe a sequel? (I need to know more about William.)

This author is brilliant and her passion for justice shines through on each page. She's not afraid to expose the complexities of racial injustice....if anything that exposure brings freedom to both the characters and the reader. Where d
Ms. Woc Reader
Aug 11, 2020 rated it really liked it
The Record Keeper follows Arika Cobane who lives in an area in the post World War III Earth called Kongo. She's been training for 10 years to become a record keeper and keep the history records of her people. She's nearing the end of her schooling and hoping to become a Senator of the Assembly. This post-apocalyptic world consists of the remains of what is formerly America split into three distinct territories with The English in the north; The Clayskin in the central area; and The Kongo in the ...more
Jul 30, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: partner
This book is not for everyone. It's gritty and raw, it made me uncomfortable, and it made my heart hurt. This is a book of our times, and of what could end up being our future.

"You don't belong to that skin. You got to look up."

"...we must remember to be miserable. We must make a terrible fuss."

The world as we know it is gone. Humanity has pretty much destroyed itself, and in an effort to survive, the remaining armies formed a truce. The rules and laws of this new world are explicit and to be f
Sep 25, 2019 rated it liked it
is this a series??
because it needs to be
Jun 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing
The Record Keeper is Agnes Gomillion's debut novel. I don't usually read sci-fi as it's a genre that daunts me as i'm not really into science and struggle with scientific words but this book was extremely easy to read, i found it a quick and easyish read and didn't get put off by the wording or plot.

I loved the concept. I was entranced from the first page. Arika’s world is crafted to be real and stark. The books main plot is around racism and it's very frank and dark. The people in power are whi
Jun 29, 2019 rated it it was ok
I would like to thank Titan Books who provided me with an ARC copy of this book for my honest review. All reviews and opinions discussed here are my own.

I did struggle with this book in all honesty. I found that there was quite a lack of world building and were just thrown in and told to make sense of what was going on. If I don't understand the world or the way it is built I really struggle to enjoy the book. I just couldn't quite find my feet with this world and at times it left me very confu
Jun 22, 2019 rated it it was amazing
After World War III, the Earth is a different place. It has been ravaged by the hi-tech weapons the warring factions used against each other and very little habitable land remains. The rival armies were forced into a reluctant truce, before the planet was completely destroyed and an agreement called The Niagra Compromise was drawn up to offer a way for the survivors to move forward.

The World now consists of a portion of what was formerly America and is split into three territories - The White E
Alex (PaperbackPiano)
Jul 01, 2019 rated it really liked it
Right from the outset, I could tell that this book was going to be a fierce call-to-arms. The narrative voice of protagonist Arika is SO STRONG. The whole book basically reads like a rallying cry, as Arika discovers that what she has always believed is not necessarily right and goes on to make a powerful stand for the rights of herself and others.

There is a LOT going on in this book. I don't know if it's a standalone or the beginning of a series; honestly, I could make a case for either. But I
Jan 02, 2020 rated it liked it
The protagonist of Agnes Gomillion’s The Record Keeper, Arika Cobane, prides herself on her knowledge of the Compromise and the laws of a post-World War III world. She’s in the running to be valedictorian at the brutal school that is training her to be a Record Keeper, with her eyes on the prize of becoming a senator for the Kongo—a dark-skinned people who have mostly been relegated to slavery. She has been told all her life that Record Keepers are a step above the rest of the Kongo people. Arik ...more
Kirsty ~ Paper Hearts Ink
Jun 24, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Well that was an intense read. Fantasy, politics and real-world issues blended together in a very powerful way. This author has a lot to say and boy did she say it well!

Arika is an amazing protagonist, that first chapter blew me away. Absolutely heartbreaking and moving. This book has so many layers. I loved the supporting characters and how they challenged Arika. Her character arc throughout the book is fantastic. She’s such a complex person and I really admired her strength and resilience.

Pamela Scott

The Record Keeper is pretty special. I loved the concept. It resonates strongly with recent events particularly in light of Trump’s presidency. I was absorbed with this book from the first page. Arika’s dystopian world is brilliantly realised and so real I felt I was reading about a real place. One of the book’s main themes is racism and this is chilling. The ruling class are white, English people. The colour people in the Kongo work the fields to provide
Jun 27, 2019 rated it did not like it
It’s a very rare thing that I DNF a book.
Unfortunately I was unable to finish this one.
I thought it sounded like such an interesting read and that it would be something I’d enjoy but I just really struggled with it.

It was very slow paced and even though I got through nearly half of it, it still felt as if nothing of note had really happened.
I tried so hard to read it, hoping that it would get better and I’d get drawn in a bit later but after almost 200 pages it wasn’t any more gripping than a
Jun 25, 2019 rated it really liked it
I really found this a impressive yet uncomfortable read about how slavery and colonialism make people accept things

Full review -
Seregil of Rhiminee
Feb 02, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Originally published at Risingshadow.

Agnes Gomillion's debut novel, The Record Keeper, will astound, shock and touch readers in many ways. It's a powerfully written and visceral story about freedom, racism, oppression and resilience that will stick to the reader's mind, because it has a deep level of resonance that sets it apart from other novels of its kind.

What makes The Record Keeper excellent is the author's strong approach to dystopian fiction. The story is clearly rooted in what has happen
Jun 25, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: titan
Honestly, a 3.5 but 4 for sheer potential.

In a post-apocalyptic world, the only surviving habitable land is a slice of the east coast of what was once North America. After years of bitter fighting along racial lines, the three surviving superpowers -- the white English, the Asian Clayskin and the black Kongo -- sign a treaty known as the Niagara compromise, which gives the three races separate but equal rights. Well, "equal" because we all know what that really means. The English are tasked with
Kate (Looking Glass Reads)
Agnes Gomillion’s debut novel The Record Keeper is a book that examines race relations both past and present in a near-future dystopian North America. The third world war began with a computer virus that decimated technology and ended with the world cold and empty, the people heavily divided. Now, the Kongo people are tasked with cultivating crops for the rest of humanity, or what is left of it.

Arika Cobane is a member of the elite amongst the Kongo. At seventeen she is weeks away from graduatin
Jul 03, 2019 rated it really liked it
It’s funny how this book grabbed my attention: it was like someone tapping my shoulder and asking a question when I haven’t even taken my earphones off. This book kind of interrupted what I was doing and demanded to be read – right then, right there. (I ended up taking it on holiday with me and, let me tell you, this is NOT a light, summery read so don’t make the same mistake. I mean it in the best possible way, though).

The Record Keeper is a scary eye-opener. It’s a horrific possibility and an
SJH (A Dream of Books)
'The Record Keeper' is Agnes Gomillion's debut novel. It is described as a 'fresh new take on the afro-futuristic science-fiction genre', which made me curious about the book but also wonder whether it was going to appeal to my tastes. I haven't read a lot of science-fiction and it's not normally a genre that I choose.

The story is set in 170 AE (After the End). Earth has been left in tatters after World War III and a fragile peace has been met. The main character Arika, is taken from a communit
Oct 14, 2020 rated it it was ok
Finished this book in the interest of an honest review. The epigram invokes the American literary tradition of the slave narrative, and though the frame for the book is post-apocalyptic America, the allegory of race and slavery is familiar. Maybe to the point of cliche, with a caste structure driven by greedy enablers, splitting the Black workforce into field and house.

Our heroine Arika falls on the house side of that split. After the awful traumas of her youth, she's about to graduate from scho
Jan 21, 2020 rated it liked it
High school drama is not what I think of for dystopia. A good chunk of the story is Catholic school of hell, so-and-so said this, and I have to study/not betray my friends. Want a healthy dose of teenage angst? You got it.

Gomillion doesn't let it be the entire story (thank the universe), yet I was struggling to feel empathy for Arika's world. Many characters have shades of pettiness, deception, and ruthlessness. The ones who don't are shoved to the side and/or have something horrible happen to t
Amanda | District Reads
Aug 14, 2020 rated it really liked it
Agnes Gomillion’s THE RECORD KEEPER was one of my early #Fantasyathon reads, and it didn’t disappoint.

Set in a near-future dystopian world where World War III has changed the face of the Earth, three groups of humans have reached a hard-won truce.

A future member of the Kongo elite, Arika Cobane is an unlikeable heroine, a survivor who does what she needs to - study hard, be quiet, and engage with her classmates as little as possible. Those who aren’t among the elite are forced to do backbreaking
Jozef Syndicate
Nov 26, 2019 rated it really liked it
It's hard to turn the final page of "The Record Keeper" without experiencing a significant moment of reflection and revelation. To sum it up as a dystopian novel that examines race relations is minimizing. Agnes Gomillion delivers such a profoundly well-written, meticulously crafted epic debut in "The Record Keeper"--and you can bet you missed chunks of backstory, personal/cultural strife, intellectual deceit, character flaws, conflict after conflict.

Expect excited book club discussions and rea
I was all ready to love this book. Having just finished Deathless Divide by Justina Ireland (which I loved), I was really in the mood for a fresh take on a fantasy-dystopian novel from the distinct view of an African American character.

Unfortunately, it fell short for me in terms of world-building, character definition, and narrative flow. Other folks loved it, so see what you think.

This part is not particularly spoilery, but I'm putting it behind spoiler tags anyway. (view spoiler)
Jul 21, 2020 rated it really liked it
Wow wow wow. This was a great story. It's written in such a way that it's unclear what's really happening until halfway through - though clear enough that I wanted to continue. Arika was SO annoying at first - so selfish and so drunk on the kool-aid she'd been given her whole life. But when you think about it, it really wasn't her fault - she had literally been taught to just follow the rules and never think critically her whole life. Just accept she was better than the workers and had the right ...more
This is a book that I stumbled on. I have never heard anything about it, but when I read the description and saw that it was a dystopian I had to read it. Although it is not one of the best dystopian I have read, it is good. I found Arika Cobane to be an interesting, but confused character that underwent tremendous growth throughout the book. Initially, she comes off as selfish and naive. At times she seemed so ridiculously naive that I just wanted to shake her, but she still made a good heroine ...more
James Garman
Sep 04, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: science-fiction
In this novel, the main character Arika Cobane, gets to deal with a world after a war that has wiped out much of the planet. There is only a band of land in the southern part of what used to be the United States that is usable. Have they created a better world?

Well, there are certainly challenges. In fact, Arika belongs to the ethnic group that feeds the entire society. She is about to enter a privileged position within the Kongo ethnic group. However, it is all worth it...can she do it and keep
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“I sang a song as I sprang from the womb- which is not unusual. After nine months many Kongos come like baby birds- crying and craning.” 0 likes
“And why do you think the Kongo go dark skin?" she asked. She answered her own questions, pointing a convinced finger into the air. "This skin is our toil." She slapped the table beneath her. "We got this skin working this earth. We put our whole head in the dirt. Our whole body. We got it all over, real bad, see?" She held up her forearm for my observation. "We been bent to toil so long; it be a fence, and we 'bout can't get out.” 0 likes
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