Like the famous Soviet sci-fi brothers, the story told is sci-fi and very earthy at the same time. Asking a lot of unanswered questions. (In fact, the author is a modern Russian writer).
The story begins suddenly, the reader is not brought up to date, he will have to figure out on his own what kind of "northern circle" he finds himself in.
A teenager named Dean lives with his parents in what appears to be a world that has survived some kind of catastrophe - environmental or nuclear, it's unclear, but life in this place used to be similar to ours. However, the heroes of the book did not find this anymore, only fragmentary information about the old times remained. And now people need to survive in the snow. This is not just a cold northern climate and permafrost - the snow here is dotted with bright streaks of unknown origin. Whether it is acid, or lava, or something else, but for all living things they are deadly. Most of the adult population is employed in the removal of veins, and children are taught this craft at school.
In this post-apocalyptic world, there are almost no plants, except for a winter forest in a state of suspended animation and those rarities like carrots that are grown in a greenhouse. Of the entire animal kingdom, even more so, there was only one species of beetles that could exist only in close proximity to its native tree. People take care of these unique beetles like the apple of their eye, even a shepherd is assigned to them, who takes care of his insect flock like a father. People are better adapted to life in harsh conditions, they have warm houses, chemical food and social ties. But the human race is mowed down by a depriving disease with unpredictable consequences: some, having suffered it, go blind, others go crazy, others lose the ability to move; there is no cure, the disease is contagious, so those who become ill immediately become outcasts. However, ancient beliefs are in the air that a person can supposedly be saved by making a living sacrifice. The protagonist of the book, teenager Dean, is faced with a choice: try to cure a little girl by killing another creature for this, or leave everything as it is and at the same time lose her only friend, the girl's brother, who urgently requires Dean's help.
This is not a cruel book, without anguish and tragedies, it can be read to impressionable teenagers, nevertheless, it raises difficult, emotionally difficult questions: is it possible to sacrifice one living being to save another? Are there more or less valuable lives? Where is the line between those creatures that need to be sacredly guarded and those that can be easily squandered? Is there any point in sacrificing anything meaningful for a very ephemeral chance of success? There are many questions here, but not a single answer - the reader opens up a huge scope for reflection on the eternal, Raskolnikov dilemmas.
And another very important point that any teenager should focus on: do as you see fit, or listen to another person whose opinion is contrary to yours, but. because he insists so?. You will have to live with the consequences of any decision - it's one thing if you made it, albeit erroneously, but yourself. But what if the choice turned out to be not only wrong, but also it was never truly yours? Someone made it for you, imposed it on you, and you followed suit?
We recommend this book in particular to fans of Frida Nilsson.
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