I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.Spare and Found Parts by Sarah Maria Griffin
Published by Titan on 6th February 2018
Genres: YA Fantasy, Dystopian
Nell Crane has always been an outsider. In a city devastated by an epidemic, where survivors are all missing parts—an arm, a leg, an eye—her father is the famed scientist who created the biomechanical limbs everyone now uses. But Nell is the only one whose mechanical piece is on the inside: her heart. Since the childhood operation, she has ticked. Like a clock, like a bomb. As her community rebuilds, everyone is expected to contribute to the society’s good . . . but how can Nell live up to her father’s revolutionary idea when she has none of her own?
Then she finds a mannequin hand while salvaging on the beach—the first boy’s hand she’s ever held—and inspiration strikes. Can Nell build her own companion in a world that fears advanced technology? The deeper she sinks into this plan, the more she learns about her city—and her father, who is hiding secret experiments of his own.
I received a sampler of Spare and Found Parts a few months ago and must admit I was very intrigued, so I was delighted when Titan Books sent across a finished copy.
Spare and Found Parts is the story of Nell, a teenager living with her father in a post-apocalyptic version of Dublin. A century before, the ‘Turn’ happened, a great sickness that claimed many lives with computers being the source (somehow, I was never entirely clear how). The result is a world where many of the population are missing limbs, eyes – or in the case of Nell herself, a heart.
There are three rules in this post-Turn world
- The sick in the Pale, the healed in the Pasture.
- Contribute, at all cost.
- All code is blasphemy.
It’s a world where even to utter the word “computer” is rebellion.
Nell is approaching the age where she must make her contribution to society. It seems everyone around her has their ideas and talents honed. Her own father is one of the most revered men in the city having created artificial limbs. Her late mother’s contribution is forever in sight, a giant stonework woman. So needless to say, Nell feels the pressure to live up to her parents. In fact, she’d love to surpass them.
Nell is different from those around her. Her heart is clockwork – created and installed by her father. Her life is accompanied by a constant audible ticking, seemingly counting down the days to her contribution.
When Nell finds a mannequin hand washed up on the shore – one of the many relics from before the Turn – she starts to dream of a man more like her. So, she decides to build him.
The start of this book is fairly slow-paced. It’s quite a while before Nell decides to build her creation. However, we do glean a picture of Nell and her introverted personality – so at odds with her best friend Ruby. We’re also introduced to Oliver Kelly who wants nothing more than for Nell to love him.
Ordinarily, I might have found this beginning a bit too slow but actually I was just enjoying Griffin’s writing so much I didn’t mind!
I’m not going to lie; this is a bit of an odd book and consequently, it won’t be for everyone. However, it’s a book that had me intrigued from the very first page.
Nell is certainly an interesting character. I didn’t ever feel completely comfortable with her – but I guess that’s the point eh? Plus I did love Kodak, her stoat. I really liked her friendship with Ruby and her interactions with Oliver made me chuckle.
My favourite character by far though was Nell’s creation, Io. I enjoyed the chapters written from his perspective – the sole android in a world of computer-fearing humans.
I’m still left kind of baffled as to what actually happened at the Turn. I assume that this is on purpose and isn’t just me! I like answers though and I feel I’m lacking them. Also, the Pasture is very vague to me.
For all that the start was slow-paced, I did feel that the end was somewhat fast, abrupt even. I’d have liked more.
All in all, I enjoyed this novel, different as it was. Griffin writes beautifully and I can’t wait to see what she brings us next.