2° by Bev Prescott is a climate based dystopian tale set on a future Earth ravaged by the forces of nature and humankind alike. It chronicles the adventurous journey of one woman who, in her quest to rescue her captured wife, discovers not only what she is capable of, but also what humanity can endure and accomplish when love is paramount.
It is 2092 and climate change has decimated the Earth, tearing the planet apart with floods, vicious storms and searing droughts. The resulting famine, thirst and disease has resulted in brutal war after brutal war as humanity’s survivors grapple tirelessly over the sparse resources remaining. Little is left of the planet that isn’t destroyed or poisoned and the survival of the human race is about to face its direst crisis yet.
Sharon comes from a long line of farmers who have respected and lived in harmony with the land for generations. She, and her wife Eve, live a secluded existence on their farm where they have nurtured something so rare and precious that it could alter the course of humanity’s fate; an apple tree that yields edible fruit. Unfortunately, Eve is ill, and the couple must make dangerous trips into what remains of Boston to get the medicine she requires.
When Eve is kidnapped, Sharon embarks on a dangerous journey to save the one person that gives her life purpose. Throughout her quest, she encounters a diverse group of people that not only help her rescue her wife, but also help rekindle her faith in the goodness of humanity.
Eve is very likeable character. She, as well as the cast of characters Sharon encounters on her journey, are the beacons of hope for humanity. They represent the goodness and kindness we are capable of, serving as positive contrasts to the key antagonist and corporations still controlling the populace. Apart from the truly malevolent people in power, most people aren’t depicted as necessarily evil. However, they are destitute and struggling for survival. Thus, they frequently enter that morally grey area where survival conflicts with decency and kindness and difficult choices must be made.
Sharon is also a very likeable character, but I found her arc to be much more profound. Sharon also dwells in the realm of moral ambiguity when we first meet her. She is a survivor, essentially a kind woman, but she will do whatever is necessary to protect herself, her wife and the farm that has been in her family for generations. She has experienced incredible loss in her lifetime and has consequently built a wall around her heart leaving room only for Eve within its confines. Given the loss she has already experienced, the state of the world and the behavior of many survivors, her reluctance to open her heart up to others is very relatable. Slowly, people chip away at this wall throughout her journey and we witness the power of love and goodness as she begins to open her heart once more. I loved the progression of her character throughout this book and how it lends hope that human decency can prevail, and while we may falter, we are capable of redemption.
The Writing Style
The book is well paced and the action, driven by both human conflict and environmental dangers, is unyielding. The characterization is wonderful and layered and really pulls you into the story. But it is the world building that is truly amazing, simultaneously horrifying and awe inspiring, and very well researched. The vast devastation, continuous storms, wars and natural disasters that form the landscape are a frightening glimpse into a dismal potential future for humanity. But the best part is the ingenious manner in which this information is conveyed. Prescott perfectly intersperses references to historical climate events and wars throughout the narrative so there is not just an info dump, rather the history is seamlessly woven into the plot.
The environmental theme in this story is something near and dear to my heart. I have witnessed first-hand the effects of climate change while trekking in the arctic and despair the disasters foretold in this book are looming in our near future. Having said that, I appreciate the potential for change and possibility of redemption Prescott explores in the book and hope it holds true in reality.
Another aspect I really loved in this book is the plethora of comparisons and contrasts that can be drawn between Sharon’s wife Eve and the apple tree that could save humanity, and the story of Adam and Eve, the tree of knowledge and the fall of man. I gave this theme a lot of thought as I read the book.
The devastation and calamities that occur seem almost too extreme at times. They are believable in isolation but verging on improbable when piled atop each other as they are. However, they certainly aren’t completely out of the realm of possibility and it is probably more out of fear than reason that I say this.
This is an incredibly compelling and action-packed story that will keep you riveted to the page as it presents a worst-case scenario future for the planet if climate change reaches a critical point. You will find yourself questioning if we have it in us to change and if we have what it takes to get it right in the end. Thankfully, the story will give you the faith and hope in humanity to answer these questions positively.
Excerpt from 2° by Bev Prescott
“Let’s rest. Just for a second.” Eve tugged Sharon to a stop in front of a stone bench. Taking Sharon’s hand, she sat and pulled Sharon down with her. “No one cares about two ragged women. There are thousands of us in the crowd. Besides, I’m worried about you. That man back there. He’ll surely die with a broken leg.” She put a hand to Sharon’s cheek. “Where is the kind farmer who gave me food and a place to rest all those years ago? Where is the woman I fell in love with?”
Eve’s question burned into Sharon like a hot branding iron. “I’m still here.” She covered Eve’s hand with hers. “Always.” Guilt and strength that came from indifference to everyone but Eve warred inside her. “No matter what, I can’t lose you. The man back there was already going to die. I only prevented him from taking us with him.” The words tasted like shards of glass. She craved the long-lost days when the idea of death existed as a far-off certainty that came for most only after a full life. Now, no one was safe. Ugly and regrettable things had to be done in order to stay alive. “You’re all I have left. I love you with my whole heart.”
“My sweet farmer. You used to be so kind and trusting.” Eve turned Sharon’s hand over and kissed her palm. “Don’t lose you in order to keep me.”
“Please don’t think less of me. It’s just – kindness and trust killed my parents. Carelessness murdered my brother Mark. And war took my other brother, Jon. I can’t let my guard down. You’re all I have.” Sharon caressed Eve’s cheek. “I love you so much.”
“And I love you.” Eve leaned into her.
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Bits and Bobs
- ISBN number: 9781612941356
- Publisher: Bywater Books
Bev Prescott Online
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