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The Fox Inheritance by Mary E. Pearson

Source: Shelf Awareness
Paperback, 320 pages
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The Fox Inheritance by Mary E. Pearson is the sequel to The Adoration of Jenna Fox (my review), a book you should read before you read this review because it could contain spoilers.

It is 260 years into the future and Locke and Kara are awakened in new bodies, but with all of their memories from their 17 years as teens.  Their time in the black boxes was tortuous with only their memories of the good and bad to comfort them, but Locke and Kara managed to create a bond that surpasses human understanding — whether it is telepathy or just super-intuition.  Mostly told from Locke’s point of view, readers get a sense of his ease at the Gatsbro estate and the unease that Kara feels when asked to act as a trained monkey.  Gatsbro claims to be a savior, but because he is so cloying, readers will sense there is more to the story.  A final realization sets Kara and Locke out into a world they do not understand, and seeking the one person they know to be alive from their time as humans — Jenna Fox.

“I watched her change.  Right then.  Like veined marble was traveling up her legs, across her lap, up to her shoulders, stiffening her neck and finally covering her face, leaving a cracked version of who she once was.” (page 16 ARC)

Once again Pearson explores the ethical questions of biotechnology, but also the questions about what makes us human and how much of our flesh and minds is necessary for us to remain human.  And can we be human just by saving human flesh and the memories in our minds?  Or is there more — something less tangible that cannot be preserved beyond death?  Locke is a sympathetic character who struggles with trust and guilt, while Kara seems to be a shadow of her former self — one that struggles to remain who she was, but also adapt to the new world she finds herself in.  Pearson carefully demonstrates how Kara is the same and how she is different through expressions, looks, and other cues, and in the same way, she illustrates the differences Locke finds in himself and how he is still human.

The Fox Inheritance by Mary E. Pearson is a strong second book in a trilogy and while exciting and deeper than most young adult novels with its ethical questions, it lacked some of the mystery in the first book.  With that said, the novel does continue to raise questions about what it means to be human and at what point machines can become seemingly human — having dreams and goals outside of their programming.  Highly enjoyable if readers are looking for some down-to-earth science fiction, with high tech effects explained in layman’s terms.

About the Author:

Mary E. Pearson is an American author of young-adult fiction. Her book A Room on Lorelei Street won the 2006 Golden Kite Award for fiction.

  • I’m glad you’re enjoying these books. I read the first one so long ago, I don’t even remember it!
    Anna´s last blog post ..Mailbox Monday — September 30

    • The first book has stayed with me a long time. I loved it.

  • I haven’t started this series but want to – I’ve heard great things about the first book.

    • The first book blew me away.

  • I had mixed feelings about this series. I think what I think is that the author had a few too many ideas she wanted to include. I.e., lots of good potential premises that maybe shouldn’t have been crammed into one book. Or something. ….

    • Jill, I enjoyed it more by the end for what it was; I think I liked it more because it wasn’t a young adult novel about vampires, etc. I think there are way too many on the market that are focused on that. I do think that the first book could have been a stand alone without making it a series.