Somnium is an inclusive piece of young adult fiction that ticks all the boxes of an enthralling read for our younger bibliophiles.
It follows Claudia, our wheelchair-bound heroine with cerebral palsy, who lives in a world where people age twice as fast due to the effects of climate change and the degradation of the environment; and the invention of a digital platform where people can escape reality by putting on a futuristic VR headset and entering Somnium. In that world, Claudia can walk, cover herself in skin art and travel anywhere and with anyone – a far cry from her life running her social media company and unsatisfactory marriage to her husband Alec.
It all goes wrong when someone does the worst thing imaginable; hacking Somnium. It’s down to Claudia to save the day… and the world.
Kamin does a wonderful job describing the dreary world her characters are resigned to, whether it be the sensation-lacking, yet colourful Somnium or the real world of Sydney. She’s characterised her story with complex and compelling figures, allowing readers to become attached to their heroes whilst coming to despise the bad guys. It can at times feel a little too fast, feeling as though you only get to know the characters through Claudia’s internal monologue, which can be detracting, however the speed is what drives the story through to the end.
For older, teen readers the language may feel clunky but it is perfect for those fifteen and sixteen year old readers looking for something bigger and darker to sink their teeth into.
Not for younger readers, this book is aimed at the more-mature teen audience with some explicit content. It is a fast-paced adventure read for those who like their stories to keep on moving with never-ending action. It’s long enough to occupy even the fastest of readers, whilst giving up a killer tale that includes mind-control, mayhem and a heroine with a disability – something rarely seen.
A perfect Christmas read for the adventure-lover teen in your life.
Reviewed by Zoe Butler
Rating out of 10: 6