Aletheia by Megan Tennant
I’ve said it before… I love dystopian novels. I absolutely loved THIS dystopian novel. In fact, it just may have barreled its way past all of the other dystopians I’ve read to become #1 on my all time favorites list! First of all, the cover is gorgeous and, even if I hadn’t loved what was written inside, I think I would have kept it solely to make my shelves prettier. Aletheia, however, is the entire package and I applaud Megan Tennant for crafting such an amazing (and terrifying) story!
736’s world has been infected with Lethe, which causes its victims to slowly forget everything about who they are and who they know. Those who are lucky enough to receive a cure (or unlucky enough) must agree to abide by the Prophet’s laws and decisions, which could include having their organs harvested for the benefit of their betters. Sounds fun, right?
I don’t think I’ve ever read a book quite like Aletheia. There was something about the combination of the POV + story + time lapse that made it stand out among other dystopians. So much happened in what seemed like a short period of time, but it was natural coming from the MC’s perspective rather than feeling rushed or not having enough happen. Granted, it’s a pretty big book at 500+ pages, so there was plenty of space for everything, but I’ve read some first person POV books that either felt too busy for the sake of filling pages or they lack depth, and this one was well balanced.
Megan likens Aletheia to Maze Runner, Hunger Games, and Divergent, which is actually a really good summary, but the great thing about it was that it felt like its own unique story. It didn’t remind me of anything while I was reading it. She was very thorough in developing the portion of the world that we see, and the logistics behind how it all works, and world building is crucial when telling a dystopian story. Dystopian worlds are all about the crazy/scary/suppressive changes that show how wrong things have gone, so I really appreciated the level of thought that went into the compound, the Depraved, the arm cuffs, etc.
I also appreciate when an author can get me invested in multiple characters besides the MC, and Aletheia has some great characters. I loved the quiet strength of Rose, the adorable cockiness of Jason, the friendship of Seth, and the general community among many of the Nameless. Despite having numbers instead of names, and no memories of their pasts, they were unique and vibrant with plenty of individuality in their strictly managed environment.
When they received the cure, the Nameless were issued their numbers which, I’m sure, made it a lot easier for the overseers to treat them as less than human. Some are okay with the deal, others rebel in small ways, and a few get themselves harvested for going too far. There’s a good deal of death in this book, and also punishments involving torture. I marvel at, and fear, the mind of Megan Tennant in this regard. I never felt safe in expecting characters to live, always assuming that anyone could die at any time. (Although, shame on you Megan for what happens at the end of chapter 46! How could you break my heart like that?)
I had such a hard time putting this book down once I got into it. I ended up finishing 90% of it in one night! (The rest took awhile because life gets demanding sometimes.) I kept thinking I’d stop at the end of the chapter, but somehow couldn’t help turning the next page once I got there. I had to know what happened next! Part of it was due to the story itself, and the rest was because of the pacing. There was too much going on to willingly close the book.
All in all, I think Aletheia turned out to be a fabulous book and I can’t wait till Megan is finished writing the sequel, Red River. I highly recommend this book to any dystopian lovers out there!
5 out of 5 stars for Aletheia!