Title: Hanna Who Fell From the Sky
When you expect a book to have purpose, like tell a morale, be inspiring, etc., it's a bit odd when it doesn't seem to play out that way. I think Christopher Meades (based on the afterword he wrote) intended for this to be an inspirational story. For me it was a story of being caged and powerless; and while that could be inspiring depending on the end I do not feel like there is any inspiration to be drawn from here.
Hanna Who Fell From the Sky had an interesting enough plot. A girl who has been raised on a 'colony' of religious fanatics who have essentially taken the Bible and re-written it. Their version encourages polygamy for older men (3+ wives required) and extensive procreation (no birth control here). Our lead gal is about to be married off and is just starting to question the small, restricted world around her.
I was expecting a book filled with a lot more moral points than this one has. There are morales to be learned based on how the women and children are treated, maybe something in the story of Hanna being forced into marriage with an elderly man she does not like (his 3rd wife), or in the treatment of the 'crippled' little sister Hanna has. But overall for the average person I don't think there is anything special or new here.
One Point of Interest
I did find one thing very interesting however. Having not thought much about polygamous societies before it had not occurred to me that you'd have an influx of men, and not enough women to go around. So in this colony they banish the boys at nineteen except for one who is the family heir and remains in the colony. Those who are sent away forbidden to return.
I have a strange (maybe concerning, lol) fascination with cults, religion and faith. I was raised Christian but as a teen turned my back on it when a minister told me my gay friend was evil (don't even start me..). I eventually found my spirit in Wicca (a branch of Paganism). I could write a book about why I ended up with the beliefs I did; but one aspect of many was that Wicca is not an organized, attend somewhere every week religion. Therefore I'm intrigued by those who need a place or are restricted to places of worship.
When I talk about religious requirements to attend a worship location I'm always reminded of a quote from The Big Bang Theory that sums up my thought perfectly:<I> "I don't object to the concept of a deity, but I'm just baffled by the notion of one that takes attendance." </I>And thus I'm intrigued by religion that requires no outside influence as it's too falliable.
Worth the Read?
I'm unsure of whether or not I would recommend this book. While Meades writing is acceptable (but not special) and the characters have sufficient development for the most part; I found myself thinking as I read that I could easily put the book down and not continue. Having read the end I feel even more 'meh' about it than before as it didn't really go anywhere interesting to me. So unless you are dying to read about a society with polygamy I think this is an easy pass.
A Shout out of the Author
I can't help but have been moved by the afterword in which the author tells us a little of his struggle during writing Hanna Who Fell From the Sky. I actually think those few pages were more interesting than the whole book. Maybe Meades will write a fictional version of his concussion story that occurred while he wrote this book? That I would read.
Please note: I received an eARC of this book from the publisher via NetGalley. This is an honest and unbiased review.