Augland by Erin Carrougher came out at the end of last year. I was sent a copy of it and did a spotlight on it back then, but just read it now. It is a YA dystopian book and the first in an ongoing series. Book 2 comes out in the spring, I believe!
The novel takes place in the future and the United States as we know it doesn’t exist anymore. After wars, most people live in Artificial Existence Centers. The novel follows Ashton, a worker in one of the AEC’s, a large dome in the Pacific Northwest called Augland 54. In these large domes you are either a worker or a Suit. Suits are really rich people who can go into suits and live a sort of virtual reality from whatever pod they’re in and go in to any of the theme parks in the dome. They can look however they want etc. The different parks could be a beach club, a Victorian town, Hollywood, Venus, etc. Workers work long and hard hours in exchange for food and shelter in the AEC. But, if they misbehave at all they are punished and possibly sent underground to live in rumored cages.
Ashton is sent from her waitressing job at the beach club to a new park that they are testing out called Land of Legends. There all the “bad” workers who are being given another chance are trained for two weeks to fight. They will be cast as either Vikings or Saxons and the Suit will choose whichever side they want to fight on and that side will be the winning side. Ashton soon realizes that this isn’t acting or play fighting at all and the higher ups don’t care of they die. She befriends Wolfe, one of the executives who seems to understand her and care for her, but can she really trust him?
With a few new friends Ashton reaches a breaking point and decides she wants to fight back against these people who treat them like slaves and expendable. Does Ashton stand a chance against them?
I really enjoyed this novel and really liked Ashton, Wolfe, and some of the other side characters. It wasn’t a groundbreaking storyline, but I still found it really interesting and I became invested in the storyline and characters. The only thing I found a little annoying is that in the few Wolfe POV chapters it almost always was a retelling of the previous chapter but in his POV. I enjoy reading other POVs in books, but it was a little repetitive when I would read a whole chapter from Ashton’s POV and then in Wolfe’s chapter it would rewind and tell the whole thing again. It would’ve been better if it maybe did go back in time a little bit but then kept moving the story forward if that makes sense.
Anyway, I enjoyed the book and I am definitely interested to see what happens next for these characters!
*I was sent this book complimentary but all opinions are my own. This post contains affiliate links.*