- Nikky Lee
Book Review: The Life Giver by Jase Puddicombe
Title: The Life Giver
Author: Jase Puddicombe
Genre: YA fantasy
Page count: 388
Rep: Disability, ace/aro
Star rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐/5
The Life Giver by Jase Puddicombe is a YA fantasy with a compelling mystery and a good dousing of dystopia. Think City of Ember meets The Giver. For some reason it also gave me Laputa vibes. Maybe it was the crumbling, abandoned city in the world above that did it. This book sits at the younger end of YA and more advanced MG readers are likely to enjoy this one too.
Our protagonist is Lyam, a Scribe chosen by the Life Giver—the sun god who brought life to the world—to care for a Dreamer, Annelie. Dreamers can talk to the Life Giver in their dreams and the sun god’s will is passed from them to the Scribes who then hand it on to Designers who see the god’s will carried out in society.
Or at least, that’s how it’s supposed to work. But something has gone wrong.
The Dreamers are being attacked one by one and the Life Giver can’t protect them. To prevent his Dreamer from being next, Lyam must break from tradition and the rigid rules of society to uncover the conspiracy behind the attacks.
While I was initially confused by the setting as I was unsure if this was a second world fantasy or a more futuristic dystopia, I soon stopped caring and just went along for the ride.
One particularly refreshing aspect was seeing a non-romantic relationship front and centre in the story. The depth of friendship between Lyam and Annelie is lovely.
The last third of the book was particularly riveting. While I knew what the outcome would be, for me the draw was not so much knowing what would happen but how. So much so, I was hanging out for the moment when Lyam finally gets above ground, as I was dying to know his reaction to the outside world—a world that readers like myself take for granted.
In all, The Life Giver is a fairly quick and easy read ideal for tweens and teens who enjoy quieter fantasies with less emphasis on the big battle scenes and more focus on unpicking the mystery as our Scribe-turned-bumbling-detective increasingly finds himself going against expectations and tradition to protect those he cares about.
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