Title: The Fire Sermon
Author: Francesca Haig
Series? Yes. 1 of 3.
I received a copy of this book from Harper Voyager Australia in exchange for an honest review.
I loved the concept of The Fire Sermon, the book certainly showed a lot of promise in the first chapters. Towards the middle, I felt that the plot dragged a bit. Thankfully, it resurges at the end to finish on a strong note.
A TWIST ON THE USUAL APOCALYPTIC WASTELAND
There was always one boy and one girl, with one from each pair perfect. Not just well-formed but strong, robust. But soon the fatal symmetry became evident’ the price to be paid for each perfect baby was its twin. They came in many different forms: limbs missing, or atrophied, or occasionally multiplied. Absent eyes, extra eyes, or eyes sealed shut. These were the Omegas, the shadow counterparts to the Alphas.
The young adult genre is littered with farfetched post apocalyptic set-ups: ranging wildly from worlds where love are outlawed, to planets where all your thoughts are vocalised in an endless stream of noise (an aside: I LOVE THE CHAOS WALKING TRILOGY). Hence, when I found The Fire Sermon is based on the concept of twins and their dichotomy: with one being mutated, the other flawless – I took it all in stride.
The Fire Sermon can be an upsetting read, as the world it’s set in is definitely dictated by ableism. As parents on Omega children are lawfully required to abandon them, sequestering them into isolated, starving colonies – the book allows its plot to explore the marginalisation of the disabled. More than this, the Omega are infertile, derogatorily called dead-end and forced to believe that they have no future as a people. I love The Fire Sermon for being able to examine some of their struggles.
However, I wished that our main character did not come from a position of relative privilege. Though Cass is an Omega, she was able to hide this for most of her childhood as she had no physical deformities. Instead, her curse is being a Seer – with the ability to sense danger, directions, and glimpsing at the occasional prophetic dream. She’s stuck in-between, the Omega envies her while the Alphas fear her. She’s in a fairly awful situation, but the Omegas are correct to say that she has it easier than the rest of them, to be frank.Read More »