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The Shining Wall

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In a ruined world, where wealthy humans push health and longevity to extremes and surround themselves with a shining metal wall, privilege and security is predicated on the services of cloned Neandertals, and the exploitation of women in the shanty towns and wastelands beyond the fortress city. This is the frightening yet moving story of orphaned Alida and her younger siste In a ruined world, where wealthy humans push health and longevity to extremes and surround themselves with a shining metal wall, privilege and security is predicated on the services of cloned Neandertals, and the exploitation of women in the shanty towns and wastelands beyond the fortress city. This is the frightening yet moving story of orphaned Alida and her younger sister Graycie, and their struggle for survival in the Demi-Settlements outside the wall. When the sisters are forced to enter the City by very different means they risk being separated forever. Cloned Neandertal officer, Shuqba is exiled to a security outpost in the Demi-Settlements when she fails to adhere to the impossible standards set for her species within the City. Will she offer a lifeline to Alida or betray her? The Shining Wall is at once a frightening parable of our unjust world of haves and have-nots, a richly imagined yet thrilling story of technological control and the fight for survival, and a paean to female friendship and power.


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In a ruined world, where wealthy humans push health and longevity to extremes and surround themselves with a shining metal wall, privilege and security is predicated on the services of cloned Neandertals, and the exploitation of women in the shanty towns and wastelands beyond the fortress city. This is the frightening yet moving story of orphaned Alida and her younger siste In a ruined world, where wealthy humans push health and longevity to extremes and surround themselves with a shining metal wall, privilege and security is predicated on the services of cloned Neandertals, and the exploitation of women in the shanty towns and wastelands beyond the fortress city. This is the frightening yet moving story of orphaned Alida and her younger sister Graycie, and their struggle for survival in the Demi-Settlements outside the wall. When the sisters are forced to enter the City by very different means they risk being separated forever. Cloned Neandertal officer, Shuqba is exiled to a security outpost in the Demi-Settlements when she fails to adhere to the impossible standards set for her species within the City. Will she offer a lifeline to Alida or betray her? The Shining Wall is at once a frightening parable of our unjust world of haves and have-nots, a richly imagined yet thrilling story of technological control and the fight for survival, and a paean to female friendship and power.

30 review for The Shining Wall

  1. 5 out of 5

    Brooke - One Woman's Brief Book Reviews

    The Shining Walls by Melissa Ferguson. (2019). The world is ruined. The wealthy elite hide behind walls while living longer thanks to technology. Security and labour is provided by cloned Neandertals. Women in the shanty towns and wastelands are exploited. Alida is orphaned and caring for her younger sister in the Demi-Settlements outside the wall. They will be forced to enter the City separately and may not see each other again. Shuqba is a cloned Neandertal officer who has been exiled to the Dem The Shining Walls by Melissa Ferguson. (2019). The world is ruined. The wealthy elite hide behind walls while living longer thanks to technology. Security and labour is provided by cloned Neandertals. Women in the shanty towns and wastelands are exploited. Alida is orphaned and caring for her younger sister in the Demi-Settlements outside the wall. They will be forced to enter the City separately and may not see each other again. Shuqba is a cloned Neandertal officer who has been exiled to the Demi-Settlements after failing to live up to the City's standards. Will she offer Alida a lifeline or betray her? I quite enjoyed this novel. It is science fiction but feels really realistic, like omg this could actually happen in the future realistic! One of the intriguing things about this novel is that it has a lot of familiar elements from the dystopia genre, but it feels like a unique new story. The concepts in the storyline are both fascinating and terrifying. For me I found a lot of symbolism and representation of current issues in our modern society reflected throughout the book. Alida truly was a great female lead being a strong girl doing the best she could with her situation, and Shuqba was interesting to follow with her internal struggle between what she has been taught do in society and what feels morally right to her. I think these characters could be explored further in future books if the author wanted to, I'd certainly be keen to see what happens next! I'd happily recommend this book for those that are open to science fiction and dystopia fiction.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Blue

    The Shining Wall was a real cross over book for me. I found that it had incorporated the best elements from other books and spined it into a strong and unyielding tale. You have a dystopian society of a ruined world, which is written better than many other dystopian worlds I have read. You get the wealthy people of the world living privlidge lives beyond the shining wall, which is very much has a Hunger Games kinda feel to it. You have robot technology which provides security and order, and that The Shining Wall was a real cross over book for me. I found that it had incorporated the best elements from other books and spined it into a strong and unyielding tale. You have a dystopian society of a ruined world, which is written better than many other dystopian worlds I have read. You get the wealthy people of the world living privlidge lives beyond the shining wall, which is very much has a Hunger Games kinda feel to it. You have robot technology which provides security and order, and that felt like a complete iRobot moment. All of these amazing concepts were rolled up into a nice little taco and damnnn that taco was delightful. The Shining Wall mostly focuses on the play of power within the society of this apocalyptic world. Those that are wealthy enough to live beyond the wall have used technology to their advantage, extending human life and treating any forms of illness. Outside the city walls in the Demi-Settlements are people ravished by hunger and disease, forced to live in the slums and steal what they can to survive. The complete opposite of the city pretty much. Alida and her younger sister Graycie are orphaned and left to fend for themselves in a soicity that has no place for the likes of them. Alida is desperate to keep her and her younger sister alive and will do that at almost any attempt possible. I love the kickass, strong young female that Alida is and no matter the desperate situation, she always attempts to keep her younger sister happy and I loved that. It was a true girl power move and I couldn’t be more pleased with this sister dynamic. There was times where this book dragged and fell behind on its pace, but it wasn’t for long periods of time. Overall this book was brilliant to read and I loved the futurist elements to it.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Cass Moriarty

    The blurb of The Shining Wall (Transit Lounge Publishing 2019) tells us that author Melissa Ferguson is ‘a cancer-fighting scientist who loves to explore scientific possibilities through fiction’, and in her debut novel about the dystopian society of a ruined world, she certainly combines her scientific knowledge with her creative imagination to create a world both frightening and apocalyptic. This is a story about power – the powerful and the powerless, the haves and the have nots. In a future The blurb of The Shining Wall (Transit Lounge Publishing 2019) tells us that author Melissa Ferguson is ‘a cancer-fighting scientist who loves to explore scientific possibilities through fiction’, and in her debut novel about the dystopian society of a ruined world, she certainly combines her scientific knowledge with her creative imagination to create a world both frightening and apocalyptic. This is a story about power – the powerful and the powerless, the haves and the have nots. In a future age, advanced technology has allowed wealthy humans to build lives of privilege behind a shining wall, lives extended by many years and augmented with artificial intelligence and scientific discoveries. Implanted chips do everything from manage your funds via a credit system to diagnose and treat illness. Robot technology provides security. OmniScreens provide information, or IntelliEnhance systems are implanted directly into your brain. The organisation LeaderCorp keeps tight control of City 1. But outside the city walls, life in the Demi-Settlements is very different as poverty and disease force people to live in slums, scavenge for food and essential supplies, and avoid the ever-present Security Forces. The cloned Neoandertal officers are literally a different breed, there to service the Sapiens. And the Rewilders roam like mercenary hippies, hoping to prevent the technology taking over. In the midst of this dramatic and terrifying new world order, we meet our main characters. Alida (17) and her sister Graycie (5) are orphaned on the first page, left to fend for themselves in a society that has no place for weakness. Alida is desperate not to resort to selling her body like so many others, or worse, being used as an incubator to birth children for those in City 1. But there are even worse fates, such as being harvested for your organs or designated for the medical research facility. Alida is a kick-arse character who travels these pages with wit and humour, with love and devotion for her sister, loyalty to her friends and an innate sense of survival. Shuqba is a cloned Neo with a heightened moral compass. When she is sent to a remote outposting in the Demi-Settlements, she finds herself unable to align her strict orders with the feelings she develops for those she has been sent to protect. Women are the silent strength in this novel: fatal viruses and wounds that won’t heal, end-of-days survivalist strategies, a complete upheaval of what is valued, power struggles between various factions – through everything, the women and girls protect each other, make sacrifices, make terrible choices in order to survive, and use their ingenuity and their emotions to outwit their enemies. The structure of the world-building and the attention to the details of the minutiae of everyday life keep this book interesting, but it is the relationships between the characters that evoke care and uncertainty as to their fates. This book is a mixture of The Road to Winter by Mark Smith versus Watershed by Jane Abbott versus The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood: a frightening vision of a possible future; a frantic game of survival; an emotional tale of connection.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Melissa Manning

    Whether dystopian is your go to genre or not, (it's not usually mine!) this is a cracking story. Strong, believable characters, incredible world building. Humour, grit and a rolling pace that maintains the momentum throughout. Relationships are nuanced and Ferguson has so much to say about the inequities of our world, environmental degradation, and the things that the have nots in society must do to survive - and all of this is seamlessly woven into story without a hint of didacticism. Ferguson' Whether dystopian is your go to genre or not, (it's not usually mine!) this is a cracking story. Strong, believable characters, incredible world building. Humour, grit and a rolling pace that maintains the momentum throughout. Relationships are nuanced and Ferguson has so much to say about the inequities of our world, environmental degradation, and the things that the have nots in society must do to survive - and all of this is seamlessly woven into story without a hint of didacticism. Ferguson's scientific background underpins the world she creates and there is not a single detail that does not ring true. I read this book in two sittings and would very much like to read more from this author, sequel or otherwise.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Dasha M

    Stark, powerful and inventive, Ferguson’s novel questions the nature of humanity and compassion in a world bereft of both. This is a book that challenged my generally-held assumption that science fiction isn’t my jam... Read my review for the Newtown Review of Books via my site here: https://dashamaiorova.com/2019/04/04/...

  6. 5 out of 5

    Alison

    I was intrigued by the premise of this novel, the idea of cloning Neandertals, especially because it's written by a scientist. The story describes a futuristic world that feels terrifyingly real. The characters were complex and interesting, the plot original and unpredictable. The female main character was likeable and oh-so-vulnerable in this dangerous future world, so I was gripped throughout and fearing for her safety. Great writing too. There were some lines I really loved, like this line (a I was intrigued by the premise of this novel, the idea of cloning Neandertals, especially because it's written by a scientist. The story describes a futuristic world that feels terrifyingly real. The characters were complex and interesting, the plot original and unpredictable. The female main character was likeable and oh-so-vulnerable in this dangerous future world, so I was gripped throughout and fearing for her safety. Great writing too. There were some lines I really loved, like this line (about a 5-year-old child): When she was feeling well she could bounce around like a rubber ball, hard enough to take somebody's eye out. (So apt, and it reminded me exactly of my eldest son.) I'm more of a thriller/romance reader usually and haven't read much sci fi, but I really enjoyed this novel.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Sonia Ferguson

    Just loved this book. My emotions were sparked in the first few pages. I love how we moved through a future world with the many parallels to the present. With the privileged behind the wall and the poor and downtrodden outside trying to scrape a living. Cloning of Neanderthals was a nice addition to the story. How man would take advantage of science for their benefit. There was also humour in the story and close bond amongst different characters. I would not normally read this genre but found it Just loved this book. My emotions were sparked in the first few pages. I love how we moved through a future world with the many parallels to the present. With the privileged behind the wall and the poor and downtrodden outside trying to scrape a living. Cloning of Neanderthals was a nice addition to the story. How man would take advantage of science for their benefit. There was also humour in the story and close bond amongst different characters. I would not normally read this genre but found it a real page turner.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Alex Fairhill

    This is a fresh and intelligent take on a dystopian world in which Neandertals have been bred by humans, and society is split into classes. The writing ia crisp, smart, funny and heartbreaking; and the characters are fully rounded as they explore topics such as health care (or lack of it), morals and class systems, and slavery and self-determination. A fantastic story that hooked me and kept me thinking long after the final page.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Clare Rhoden

    The Shining Wall encapsulates the human condition without being preachy or judgemental. The plot is neat and the characters engaging - or repulsive as appropriate! I am reviewing this for a magazine so will post a fuller review after that commitment. In the meantime, do read this is you like intelligent, humanist, engaging dystopian stories.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Dianne Schmidt

    The Shining Wall hooked me in from the very first page .It is a story set in a terrifying dystopian future where the rich live in a walled city and the poor struggle for survival in the slums outside. There's also advanced technology that has reached out of control levels and Neanderthals have been cloned as servants to the rich . The story follows Alida a human and Shuqba a cloned Neanderthal as their lives bring them into each other paths and an unlikely friendship forms. I was immediately inv The Shining Wall hooked me in from the very first page .It is a story set in a terrifying dystopian future where the rich live in a walled city and the poor struggle for survival in the slums outside. There's also advanced technology that has reached out of control levels and Neanderthals have been cloned as servants to the rich . The story follows Alida a human and Shuqba a cloned Neanderthal as their lives bring them into each other paths and an unlikely friendship forms. I was immediately invested in the stories of these wonderful characters in this convincing and complex world and I laughed and cried along with them. I fear some of the aspects of the future depicted may even come true. Ferguson has written a book full of emotion and ideas that I will be thinking about for a long time to come .

  11. 5 out of 5

    Michael

  12. 4 out of 5

    Caitlin

  13. 5 out of 5

    Helen

  14. 4 out of 5

    Lyn

  15. 4 out of 5

    Aimee

  16. 5 out of 5

    James

  17. 4 out of 5

    Sasha

  18. 4 out of 5

    Vincent

  19. 4 out of 5

    Kathryn Lola

  20. 4 out of 5

    R.W.R. Mcdonald

  21. 4 out of 5

    Roxy

  22. 5 out of 5

    Rachel

  23. 4 out of 5

    Vivian Boyce

  24. 5 out of 5

    Hattie

  25. 5 out of 5

    Aryani Siti

  26. 4 out of 5

    Agnes

  27. 5 out of 5

    Megan Edwards

  28. 5 out of 5

    Jarina

  29. 4 out of 5

    Rachel Watts

  30. 4 out of 5

    Cindy

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