Friday, August 26, 2011
Tankborn by Karen Sandler
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Tankborn is a reference to how GENs (Genetically Engineered Non-natals) are created, rather than nurtured in a womb, they are in a tank. Because of this they are considered non-Human…even though they are mostly created with human DNA and maybe a bit of animal DNA to enhance physical attributes they would need on the future job assignment they are being created for. Because of their non-human status they are the “untouchables” of this society, both literally and figuratively.
Kayla and Mishalla are best friends. They grew up together in the same GEN sector, and are the same age. Mishalla has already received her assignment as a “nurturer” to young children in what is an emergency foster home until family can be found to care for the child.
Kayla received her assignment as the caregiver of an high status elderly man, Zul, living with his grandson and family. While caring for Zul, Kayla’s eyes are opened to the reality of tankborns and the knowledge shakes her to the very core of her existence.
Tankborn was an incredibly thought provoking read. It took me a little while to get into it because the story starts out using terminology created for the world of the book, and that didn’t necessarily provide a definition for me. One of my all-time favorite authors does this all the time and it just something I, personally, have to fight through.
While it is quite clear that the author wanted to explore the chaste system, this story could really be a metaphor for any “us vs. them” mentality…be it religion, gay rights, politics, you name it, and there are direct correlations within “Tankborn”. It also carried a message of hope.
“Even without the white diamond glitter from the bali in his right ear, Kayla would have known this one was high-status. His dark hair was straight and glossy, not wild and kinked like Kayla’s or tight curls like Jal’s. His skin was the perfect color, a right medium bown. Not near black like Jal’s, nor the pale mud color of her own skin, but a warm shade in between. The color of status.”
Another thing I appreciated about this book was that the higher chaste, “true born”, people were people of color. Actually the whole book is people of color…but found it interesting that those with the mid-range color were more desirable, or higher status, rather than those at the end of spectrum. Leaving lots of room for interpretation. Also, the model on the book cover is also a beautiful girl of color.
I really enjoyed “Tankborn”. The author did a beautiful job weaving together a story, then did a spectacular job of destroying everything Kayla believed in. It’s one of those books readers will still be thinking about days after they have finished it. I know I am!
View all my reviews
Posted by Pam Steinke at 9:22 AM