Cait’s Review of “North to Nara” by Amanda Marin

By: Cait Marie

*I received a free copy of this book for my honest review.*

Set in a dystopian future, 17-year-old Neve has always admired the different civil servants of the Nation. From Enforcers to Counselors to Sufferers, they’re the people fully devoted to the Nation and its laws.

Sufferers are empaths who take on the pain of others anonymously in the Center for Compassion. However, when Neve learns that her new Sufferer is Micah Ward, someone she already praised for his helping a Traitor, who was being beaten during a public event, she finds out why there are laws of anonymity.

Already on thin ice for helping the Traitor, Micah asks Neve to hold off informing the center that they know each other. She quickly agrees, wanting to do anything in her power to help him. As they grow closer, she learns the painful truth behind his lifelong career. As well as how unjust the Nation’s laws are when it comes to the Sufferers.

Together, they must hide the truth of their relationship and decide which is more important: their loyalty to the Nation and its laws or love.

I’ve always been a sucker for dystopian. This is not a secret. The obsession with The Hunger Games is still very real in this house. It’s rare that I find one I love as much as it or Divergent, but this book succeeded!

This was such an intriguing, original take on the “utopia” dystopian. It reminded me a lot of The Giver in ways, which is one of my absolute favorite series. It has the false utopia, the land beyond the border, and the specific jobs that are selected when signing up to serve the Nation.

Let’s start with the story. I thought it was very well done. It caught my attention in the first chapter and kept me intrigued throughout. I really like how Marin handled telling the history of the Nation and its laws. Most of the chapters started off with a new tidbit of information, and while I did notice the pattern, it didn’t feel forced. It flowed with the story and helped to better understand the background of this country.

The book was very well written. I’m always wary of that with indie books, but North to Nara was great. It was well paced, and the dialogue felt natural.

Which brings us to the characters. Neve and Micah are both wonderful. I loved seeing Neve grow as a person. She starts off as a sort of meek girl, who people see as fragile. But as the events unfold, you really see her begin to fight for what she wants. She becomes this courageous fighter, who isn’t afraid to do what it takes to protect the people she loves. Micah is an empath, so he’s naturally caring. Learning more about him, his job, and his past was heartbreaking. You all know I love my cinnamon roll boys!

Then we have Rafe and Tali, Neve’s brother and best friend respectively. I absolutely loved Rafe, and my only complaint about the book is that he wasn’t in it more. Hopefully in the next book we see them more.

That being said, I cannot wait until the next book! I believe it’s set to release in January 2020. North to Nara had some super intense moments there at the end, so I’m eager for more. I think Marin did a wonderful job at introducing us to this new world, and I can’t wait to see where she takes us from here.

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