Saturday, June 25, 2011

Jemma7729 by Phoebe Wray - review


Just LOOK at this cover. I love it. There is this young woman, very determined looking with her gun out - she means business. See the dome behind her? all major cities are domed in for the safety of the citizens....and the air outside the dome is very harmful, especially to women. But Jemma is outside the dome....could it be a lie? Is that why she has a gun? this cover totally represents the story.

Jemma 7729 takes place in a future America, where there has been a catastrophic event that has left people living in domed cities because of the "bad air", men are in charge because women are the cause of all kinds of dangerous things (history has been re-written to show many examples of women being the reason for war, famine, riots, etc), and people are tightly controlled by the government. There are classes of people - the caucasion elite have the best life, and it goes down hill from there. From an early age, people's lives are mapped out for them, and they have a choice of what they will become when they grow...of course, this choice is within the confines of your family's class and standing. There are in fact, not many choices for each class. It's pretty intense and if you don't do your part you are either deleted or sent to rehab.

Most people go on their blissfully ignorant way, believing all they're told, and doing what they're supposed to be doing...after all, if you don't you get taken away and most likely deleted. Except that from an early age, Jemma7729 has asked too many questions and is just a bit too assertive, defending herself against a boy's punches instead of apologising for making him upset enough to punch (OMG I would be SO deleted).

This is the story of the life of Jemma7729 from the time she is five years old. As you can tell from the cover (she's standing there with a GUN! this is NOT allowed, she's a female, and females are NOT allowed to be assertive or aggressive) Jemma ends up rebelling against her fate. She narrowly escapes being deleted after finding out that the air outside the dome really is NOT dangerous for women. She escapes and spends many years fighting the status quo. The fighting that takes place in the story, the rebellious acts she commits, it's all described very well.

If you are looking for a HEA ending, you're not going to get here - but you are getting a good read that will make you think. It will make you glad if you're a woman that you live in the present, where you have choices in what you do, and you're not oppressed because you're a woman. I enjoyed reading about how Jemma goes from being a five year old with too many questions to living and fighting outside the dome. Jemma finds herself at first alone and fighting a lonely fight, yet slowly begins to meet other people. She finds that there are whole settlements throughout the country. That the government she's always known about isn't completely in charge the they want everyone in the cities to believe.

The voice of Jemma is fascinating. I enjoyed the five year old Jemma just as much as the teen Jemma and the adult Jemma. The dialogue between characters was interesting. I found myself rooting for Jemma and wanting things to go her way... In fact the concept behind this story is a bit intense. Just look at some countries where women aren't allowed to even drive, and are blamed for anything that goes wrong. Just look at the histories - it wasn't until 1919 that women in America won the right to vote. It isn't that far of a stretch, or that far from history, the blaming of women, the oppression isn't that far behind us when you compare the time we've been on earth to the time that we've had full rights....chilling.

The novel kept me engaged for a good 24 hours. I started it one night, read most of the next day, stayed up that night to finish it. I finished it and wanted to find out what happens next. Luckily Phoebe Wray has written a sequel - J2, which will be out soon. I plan to get it as soon as I can. The author is very approachable also. I wrote to her a couple of times and as busy as she is, she took the time out to write back - this is how I know a sequel is finished and on the way to publication.

If you are into alternate realities, futuristic fiction, or Science Fiction, then you'll like this book. There are hovercrafts, chips, rebels, domes that encase a complete city. I found the whole concept to be interesting and I'm glad that I found this book - in fact, I could see this as a movie. It's be amazing if done right.


  1. Hey. Marbel! The sequel -- J2 -- is in the queue. It will be out in early 2012. We (Jemma and I) are SO happy! Dark Quest Books has picked her up. Jemma7729 will also be coming out as an ebook. J2 will be both e-book and print. Jemma;s clone picks up the fallen torch of freedom. However,
    she's a lab rat, with no experience of the real world, and running from te Fedguard who want her head.. Adventures galore!

  2. I'm excited too - I want to read more about Jemma. Funny thing - Last night I was moving around some books and came across my copy of Jemma7729 - thought a moment about how I liked it; So finding your comment this afternoon was pretty cool. :)

  3. Good morning, Mardel. A little update on the Jemma series...Yes, Jemma7729 is coming out as an ebook and, lucky for me, I had yet another editor and got to fix the couple of continuity glitches and add some scenes. It, and J2, will be released before March of this year. Thanks so much for your kind comments and for sharing Jemma's life.