In Here Lies Love we are immersed into a world where the sun has died and an artificial blue haze is the atmosphere. Cities are desolate, dog-eat-dog habitats where if the wild winds don’t destroy you, crime or hardship will.
It is in one such city that we are introduced to Abbey, who was sold by her father to a foul man who keeps Abbey and other young girls captive for his own perverse amusement.
Forced to watch and endure abuse, Abbey faces tough odds and manages to escape her captor. However, despite all she endured in captivity, being alone in the unfamiliar world poses even more threats.
By chance, she strikes up a friendship with two boys she meets, Tristan and Ryan, and lives with them for a time. As she adjusts to a freer existence and with developing feelings towards one of her new friends, she finds that her dark past and unknown future cause a battle within her that will set her on a drastic course of action to find peace and closure.
I really liked the desolate world that Dan Thompson created for his characters. As mentioned in the afterword, it is reminiscent of Runners by Sharon Sant but much darker and exploring harsher issues, making clear the transition from YA (young adult) to NA (new adult). Although there is some explanation about the idea behind the dystopian setting in this book, I think I would have liked to have heard more about it in the actual storyline as it seemed like an interesting mystery in itself.
The story is very much character led, with a strong focus on Abbey, her feelings and actions as a consequence of her tumultuous thoughts. I did find Abbey as a lead quite hard to identify with as her thoughts and actions seemed chaotic and disjointed to me. Then again, with what she has to go through, it isn’t any wonder that her reactions and choices seem out of sync with ‘normal’ behaviour. I liked the involvement of the lads she meets; adding a fresher, light-hearted perspective to proceedings.
This novel explores some tough themes so is definitely not for the faint hearted. It’s serious and at times a little bleak, but there is meaning and hope if you hold out for it. If you do like dystopian fiction and have a leaning towards the darker side of storytelling, then Here Lies Love is the book for you.