book review

Book Review: Wipe Out

WIPE OUT by Teresa Godfrey is a hopeful look at what can happen, even in a dystopian future, when someone decides to do the right thing. Check out more of what Erica Ball has to say in her book review of this Roswell Press novel.

Book Review: Wipe Out

Reviewed by Erica Ball

A hopeful look at what can happen, even in a dystopian future, when someone decides to do the right thing

Wipe Out by Teresa Godfrey is the story of a tough-as-nails military driver who accidentally finds herself leading a revolution. In this world, society is recovering from a deadly disease that has collapsed civilization. In order to avoid such a thing happening again, the leaders of this new world are pursuing perfect health and harmony in their people. 

Citizens are discouraged from forming personal relationships that might overshadow their devotion to the cause. There is no friendship. There are no family units. Everyone is genetically engineered and birthed in a factory. 

Well, almost everyone. 

Hazel is used to the dangers of her job escorting archeologists through the bush in search of remains of the old human society. When a young soldier joins her team, she tries to toughen him up as best as she knows how. But something is off about him, and when she suddenly finds him dead, holding a picture of a woman and a boy, life as she knows it changes forever. 

She soon discovers an experiment where children were raised by their mothers until they were ten. She begins to wonder about her own mother, the lady who gave birth to her in the factory. Even more disturbing, she begins to care about people. 

This plot is engrossing because of its unpredictability. It begins with the mystery of the people in the photo and Hazel’s mission to track them down. But it soon pivots to action, as she is forced to make drastic decisions to help others escape dangerous situations. Toward the end, it pivots yet again, to the feel of a political thriller, as Hazel and the other characters grapple with their discoveries and how best to act on them. 

Hazel herself seems stern and hard but clearly is not all the way through. It is a pleasure to watch her slowly give in to the feelings she has been taught to deny, and often funny to see her superficial and stubborn protestations of indifference about others. Though she has plenty of agency of her own, she often reacts as though she has none. Instead, she is swept along by the forces unleashed around and within her. In a way, that is how the story builds. The plot feels like a dropped pebble slowly becoming a rockslide that threatens to destroy the seemingly solid foundation of this dystopian world.

The final act of the story is sudden and then quietly descends. It is a moving and satisfying ending, but some readers may find it a little too neat and behind the scenes.

Wipe Out comes highly recommended to readers who enjoy stories that deal with the importance and impact of interpersonal relationships and character-centered dystopian fiction. Because there is not a lot of technical jargon or any out-of-this-world concepts, it would also be an accessible read for general fiction readers.

In all, it is a story of one of those rare moments when many factors come together to trigger rapid change. A pivot point. A flashpoint occurs because the right people are in positions to make things happen, and—most importantly—choose to do so. 

Publisher: Roswell Press

Genre: Science Fiction / Dystopia

Print Length: 236 pages

ISBN: 978-1620065778

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