Rated Reads

Compendium

by Alia Luria

Rated: Mild

The natural resources to run Lumin’s high-tech gadgetry are in danger of being depleted, so the planet’s leaders have made the difficult decision to end the use of technology for 500 years to let the planet and its Core have time to heal and regenerate. But not everyone is in agreement, and the keys to the information that will be needed to restore use of the tech years down the road are carefully hidden and protected.

The Order has grown up 650 years later to this end, but “Gamma Protocol” has gone 150 years past its planned duration, and the few who know about it anymore don’t know why it hasn’t concluded. Mia Jayne, who has grown up with her father in the tropics of Lumin, finds herself in the service of the Order when her father seeks help with a dangerous infection. She is angry to essentially be forced into being an acolyte in the organization her father had always railed against, and she doesn’t do much to try to fit in and become a real part of the Order.

Mia is assigned to help in the Archives, and during her work cleaning the old books, she discovers a strange little book that ends up being much, much more than what it seems. When she accidentally unlocks its secrets, the knowledge Compendium provides opens up a whole new world to her. But Mia has no idea where the book will end up leading her and what it will mean to the whole of Lumin.

Compendium is a well-written and engaging book that kept my interest the whole way through. The way the people on Lumin use the planet’s natural resources for energy is a cool concept, even during the time that those uses are pretty limited, and the notion that a civilization would have to take 500-plus years “off” from using high-tech gadgets is one that should give everyone in today’s highly wired society pause for consideration.

The only real downside to the book is that it’s the first in a planned series, so I and other readers will have to wait impatiently to see what happens next.

Rated: Mild. There are only a few instances of language and a few instances of some violence.

— Reviewed by Cathy Carmode Lim

Cathy Carmode Lim has been reviewing books for newspapers for about 20 years, two of which she was a book page editor. She founded Rated Reads in January 2008.

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