The Five Unnecessaries is book one of the 27th Protector series, by Laura Campbell. I found it simply amazing. It’s a book that deseveres to be better known.
This book would appeal to those who like dystopian. It’s not a traditional dystopian though. The main character doesn’t live in that bad a place, and those that do… haven’t realized it. But it is bad, scarily bad in that I can see our society slipping into this place. This is its blurb.
I am Aislyn. These are the sad facts of my world. Any child born in the Republic who is unscheduled, imperfect, or inconvenient is labeled an Unnecessary. Any pregnant woman, or Vessel, is targeted as an enemy of the state for harboring an Unnecessary. Their only hope is to be rescued by a Protector, one of 26 girls trained to infiltrate the Republic and get them safely back to the Territory. These girls are chosen because they are strong, smart, and heroic. They train for years in medicine, technology, physical agility, and espionage. They never choose girls like me. Except…they did. I am a threat and a risk because I don’t comply with the rules and expectations. I am a target because the Republic is more determined than ever to destroy anyone who crosses the border. I think my trainer has a secret. I am the 27th Protector of the 188th generation, and I’m terrified I will fail.
So Aislyn trains, Eventually she passes her exams and it is time to go. Into the Republic, risking her life. She finds an Unnecessary to take back with her. She is caught. But the guard lets her go. And she doesn’t know why.
This is not one of those books with a blatant Christian message, in fact there’s not a single bible verse that I can remember. However what it does have is a powerful message about the sanctity of life, and about what we can do. Even if we feel powerless, God can use anyone to show his love. We just have to be alive enough to make a difference. To show the world that there are no unnecessaries.
It is a truly beautiful story, One that almost made me cry. (And that’s not easy to do.) There are so many profound statements in it. And just the way things are described, it pulled me in and made me feel like I was really there. (Except for the occasionally editing mistake that distracted me.) The first line is one of those beautiful memorable ones. “Grey shouldn’t be a color. It’s a void.”
It’s realistic. Even gritty on occasion. The Republic is a decadent society and that does come into the story, but not too much. Just enough to show what it is like, but not enough that it would bother squeamish people. Though some of the medical stuff might, There’s blood and people dying, Emergency c-sections and stuff like that.
Aislyn is a character I can relate to well. She isn’t anyone special, despite having to do a very difficult job. And she has just as much trouble coping as anyone would. And the other characters, they vary a lot and there is great development. We don’t get to know all 27 protectors, but the ones that do appear are wonderful.(Or not as is suitable) Brie is highly committed and caring with a tragic backstory, Tessa wants to be the best protector ever, Megan is the only person her father has left and Eva is so young and scatter brained. Then there is Eldrige, Commander Patterson, Collin and other trainers and the tech guys. And people in the republic.
A few of my favourite lines, just to give you an idea of some of the characters and the writing.
Eva: “So ‘yay’ for incomprehensible circumstances that point out the incompetence of underdeveloped legislature. Candy?”
Patterson: “Never apologize for seeing beauty. In fact, you will need to, or you will likely go mad from everything else you have to deal with.”
Eldridge: “My dear, I am slightly important or so I have been told. I’m technically running a county and an undercover operation to steal forsaken children, however unnecessary they are deemed to be. This does come with some competition for my time. But when you can track me down, Please do. Being in charge also gives one some clout to do things like choose 27th Protectors and talk to them when I want.”
Cassidy: “I knew you were gonna be fun”
Brie: “Do you remember when I said that nothing could ever make me hate them more?” “I was wrong.”
And I think that’s enough. There’s a sequel, The First Traitor. It’s on my wishlist. Let me know what you think if you decide to check it out.