February 25, 2016
Contra, by Andrea Murray
In the sequel to the young adult dystopian novel, Omni, one young couple will do anything to stay together, and one man will do anything to control them. After barely escaping death in Omni, eighteen-year-old Pierce has left behind his place in the Artist stratum in exchange for sanctuary with his family. However, when Harmony goes missing, he can’t help but think it’s just another ploy of the Omni government to force him to return. With Harmony on her own, the two must find a way back to each other while battling against the full might of the government, but one powerful official is determined to keep them apart. Bent on revenge, Pelagic will stop at nothing to expose the secret of Pierce’s parentage.
I enjoyed Omni, so it was no surprise that I enjoyed Contra as well. I’ve read many retellings in my day, and I always like to consider the “redo” on its own merits. One of the best things about Contra is that the prologue briefly recaps Omni, so the fact that I had read the first book several months ago didn’t leave me scrambling to remember. As Murray moved through the narrative, little pieces were brief reminders that triggered my recalling specific events in Omni. The prologue and these brief vignettes also allow someone to pick up Contra and understand what’s going on without reading Omni, but reading these books back-to-back, or close together is how these are meant to be read.
If you consider Contra without Omni, a few of the characters are clichéd, their backstory and driving characteristics missing from Contra. The ending of Contra was slightly more satisfying than the ending to Omni, and although the series is explicitly stated to be a duology, I could see a third book written, and would an eager purchaser of said book.
As for the star rating, Contra is easily a four-star read. I have the Vivid trilogy by Ms. Murray and plan to read it sometime soon. If Ms. Murray decided to write more sci-fi or dystopian, I would read them since I feel Ms. Murray does an excellent job storytelling.
Andrea Murray has been teaching English for longer than most of her students have been alive. She has taught everything from junior high language arts to concurrent credit freshman composition. She lives in a very small town in Arkansas with her precocious daughter, energetic son, and racecar-driving husband. When she isn’t writing or reading novels for her students, she’s probably watching reality television or cheesy science fiction movies. In addition to her new YA dystopian romance, Omni, she has also written the Vivid Trilogy, a fantasy/romance story.