Kate Brandeis has it all: a famous reporter at the age of twenty-four, she’s the face of the Republic of the Americas. She has a loving fiancee and all the success she could wish for. But when she learns of the death of a long-forgotten friend, her investigations unravel her perfect memories, forcing her to face the fact that she’s been living a lie.
Jackson MacNamera, trained from a young age in the art of mind control, returns to the Republic for his mother’s funeral. Within a few hours of his arrival, authorities collect Jackson and take him by force to a room ironically called The Liberty Box, where he must choose between surrendering his thoughts to the new Republic, or fleeing for his freedom.
Kate, bereaved and confused, finds her way to a cave community of refugees, where Jackson seems to offer her an escape from her grief. The two forge an uneasy bond, and in the process Jackson learns that Kate has some insight which may help the hunters in their attempt to free other citizens from the tyranny of the Potentate. Against the expressed wishes of the Council, the hunters plot a series of daring raids, attempting to prove that not only is freedom possible, but that the citizens are not too far gone to desire it. But with the odds so stacked against them, can the refugees succeed in their rescue missions right under the Potentate’s nose?
“…the missing link between our physical bodies and our awareness is our minds.”
“…power is never the point. Power is a byproduct of a peaceful and quiet mind…but the moment power becomes an end in itself, the peace evaporates.”
I was contacted to read and give an honest review of this book by the author and I was pleasantly surprised with the novel. The story follows Kate and Jackson, two very different people living very different lives that get caught up in the same problem: the government is actually crazy and people are brainwashed; no big deal. The citizens in this story who live in the Republic, formally known as America, all live with a metaphorical film over their eyes that causes them to think they are all happy and healthy when in reality, they are starving and the country is in ruins. It kind of reminds me of a video game called “We Happy Few” where people take medicine to live in a “perfect” society when in reality everything is much darker than originally thought.
This story was full of very interesting concepts that make me curious to read more about them. A lot of what I found interesting revolves around being completely at peace with your mind and being in control of your thoughts beyond just our basic understanding of the brain. While doing research for this review, I learned that Gray is actually a Naturopathic Medical Doctor which could explain some of the events and concepts that take place in the book.
The only thing that I feel is missing from this book, and it might just be me and my preferences, is that I wish that this book had more romance in it. There are touches here and there, there is an obvious connection between Kate and Jackson. I understand the hesitation, given the previous events that took place in but there was very little on the romance side. Perhaps this is because Gray wants to stick to more action based writing rather than emotions but with the introduction of a potential love triangle at the end of the book I hope she includes more of a romantic side in her upcoming books.
Overall, this story was very well put together and like I mentioned before, was full of concepts that I found fascinating. I have never read a story about a dystopian world in such a manner as The Liberty Box, making it an utterly unique tale. I will be interested to see where Gray takes the story next and look forward to continuing the series.