The Fox Inheritance by Mary E. Pearson
For 260 years, Locke and Kara were trapped. They thought their best friend, Jenna Fox, would save them, but instead it was Dr. Gatsbro who gave them a new life. Although Locke feels some gratitude toward Dr. Gatsbro, Kara understands Dr. Gatsbro’s true motivations and is unwilling to obediently comply with his wishes.
Both Locke and Kara feel abandoned by Jenna. They wonder why she didn’t save them, and Kara especially feels betrayed. So when Kara and Locke manage to escape from Dr. Gatsbro, their first impulse is to find Jenna. But the world has changed in the last 260 years. Dr. Gatsbro taught them about some of the changes, yet there is much Locke and Kara don’t know. It is fortuitous that the first person they meet upon escaping Dr. Gatsbro sympathizes with their plight and is willing to help. Only Dot isn’t a person at all, Locke is surprised to discover, but a robot programmed to drive a taxi.
Locke is the sole narrator of The Fox Inheritance, struggling to come to terms with how the world has changed, with Kara’s explosive anger, with how Dr. Gatsbro has changed Locke’s own physical form. But for long stretches of the novel, The Fox Inheritance is also a futuristic action novel, as Locke and Kara attempt to elude Dr. Gatsbro and make their way across the country to find Jenna.
It’s hard not to compare The Fox Inheritance to its predecessor, The Adoration of Jenna Fox, which is such an engaging read, equal parts suspenseful and thoughtful. I don’t think The Fox Inheritance is as good a story as TAoJF, although Pearson adeptly blends the action of Locke’s attempt to reunite with Jenna with broader philosophical concerns. Unlike TAoJF, the pacing was at times uneven (slow for a rather long stretch in the beginning before picking up steam) and the timing of some of the revelations not as gratifying. However, even if I wasn’t completely satisfied by the story, what made The Fox Inheritance still a worthwhile read to me was the exploration of its themes and issues—about identity, bioethics, inequality, choice, and more. Yes, I do think it covers some of the same ground as TAoJF, but folks who haven’t yet read TAoJF won’t know this. Plus, Pearson’s writing is so smooth that she integrates these topics in a way that seems organic to the story instead of feeling forced or heavy-handed.
You don’t have to read The Adoration of Jenna Fox to understand what happens in The Fox Inheritance; Pearson supplies enough information in The Fox Inheritance for those new to the series. That said, reading The Adoration of Jenna Fox second would eliminate much of the tension from a book I’d highly recommend to those who haven’t yet read it.
The Fox Inheritance will be published next week. Be sure to come back tomorrow, when Mary E. Pearson will visit as part of her blog tour.
Book source: ARC from publisher