Going Underground – Book Review



Going Underground: Independent Minds (Going Underground #1)

by L.N. Denison, Dystopian, Rating: 4 stars

 Going Underground: Independent Minds is a compelling dystopian tale that follows the exploits of protagonists, Jen and Myron. As the book opens the two characters are children, but are polar opposites – Jen is low-born and lives in a trailer while Myron hails from a privileged class, so it’s no surprise that he tries to bully her, but to his surprise is quickly overtaken by the feisty Jen.

While children’s petty squabbles play out the real conflict in the story takes shape. England is embroiled in a total war with Scotland, and England’s totalitarian regime, that of Prime Minister John Howard, keeps a brutal hold on power through oppressive laws, curfews, and fascist government patrols who kill people on a whim.

As the story progresses, the main characters learn about the Regime’s true plans through a teenage scholar-revolutionary, Oscar Saracen. As the character’s experience the tyranny of the government via cruelty, labor camps and torture, they are radicalized into resistance, not with the sword but with the pen. They start an underground newsletter to sway public opinion against the Howard Government, right under its nose in London.

The Ruling regime is pretty “by-the-numbers” when it comes to villains. It has jackbooted troopers, concentration camps, evil torturing doctors, and a “secret weapon”. Aside from staying in power I was slightly confused as to what their motivations were. At times its directives were a mix of extreme leftist and rightist viewpoints (persecution of none pure-bloods, banning holidays, etc), but it gets the job done in being the menacing “big bad”.

I was surprised about how much punishment Jen takes throughout the book, but I won’t spoil it. The writing is solid, and the story structure is standard, if at times some fairly major plot-twists seemed overly telegraphed to the reader, but a few caught me off-guard. The book did end fairly abruptly after the final act, but seemed to be appropriate to the story if it is planned to be a stand-alone book.

Going Underground: Independent Minds is solid entry to the dystopian genre, and seems to be coming out just in time for the whole Scottish Independence controversy. If you like1984 you should give it a try.




This guest review was contributed by Lars Teeney. Lars focuses on fantasy and science fiction book reviews. He’s also a self-published author, himself.

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