________________ CM . . . . Volume XXI Number 24 . . . . February 27, 2015


Enslavement. (One Bright Future, Book One).

Melinda Friesen.
Winnipeg, MB: Rebelight Publishing, 2014.
133 pp., trade pbk. & ebook, $13.99 (pbk.), $12.99 (ebook).
ISBN 978-0-9939390-0-6 (pbk.), ISBN 978-0-9939390-1-3 (ebook).

Grades 8 and up / Ages 13 and up.

Review by Ronald Hore.

*** /4


Officers swarm up the stairs. Others search the living room and kitchen. Drawers are dumped. Spoons, forks, spatulas clatter onto the tile. My grandmother’s china is flung to the floor. It pops and shatters and crunches under their feet. A crystal vase tumbles from the top shelf. I jolt as it explodes into a thousand glittering shards.

From the bedroom, thuds and crashes rake my ears, splintering wood and clanking metal hangers. We’ve made their search easy. Dad already traded away most of our belongings. A few family treasures, now in pieces on the floor, were all we kept. But they would’ve gone soon too. Hunger trumps sentimentality.

My fifteen year old brother, Silas, sits on the sofa and stares at the floor. He jams his white knuckled fists against his ears.

Mom kneels beside Dad, sprawled unconscious on the living room floor. She brushes her quaking hand over the gash on his head where they clubbed him for trying to protect us. A thread of blood winds around his ear and soaks into the ivory carpet.


Enslavement is a worthy first novel, and the first installment in a new series directed primarily toward teenage readers. The plot follows the currently popular trend among young people of a world sunk into a dystopian culture. After a global economic collapse, OneEarth Bank has taken over control of the world, with a single currency and a population who will enjoy the fruits of the new civilization as long as they submit to the insertion of a commerce chip in their arm.

     The heroine of the story, and its narrator, is Rielle, the teenage daughter of a family who refused to be chipped on religious and personal grounds. OneEarth Bank is now clamping down on Resisters. Her parents are carried off to prison. Her younger brother Silas, and two year old sister Alyssa are seized by the Juvenile Division and taken away for rehabilitation. Rielle is forced into a Community Service Contract, really a form of slavery, and transported hundreds of miles away from home and sold to an abusive banker in Texas.

     Rielle refuses to speak to her new master or the several other slaves he owns, pretending to be mute. When the sympathetic and handsome nephew of the banker’s brother comes to stay in the household while attending school and tries to get her to open up, he complicates her already miserable life.

     Not a gripping page turner, Enslavement is a story that takes its time to set up the heroine’s difficult situation in this well described world while laying out the developing potential of a three way romantic triangle. The ending is satisfactory and leaves much still to come.


Ronald Hore, involved with writers groups for several years, dabbles in writing fantasy in Winnipeg, MB.

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

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