Title: Ora’s Gold
Author: Charlotte Young
Genre: YA, Dystopia
My Rating: 4.6/5 stars
“But I know now, you were just doing what you thought was best…
I guess that’s what parents do!”
“18-year-old Ora’s decision to move in with her aunt is a bad one. She’s landed herself in the middle of nowhere with a deluded activist who wants to change the world, one illegal birth at a time. Sooner or later someone is going to die and Ora doesn’t know where to turn.
The beach is her only sanctuary and it’s here that she meets Jake, thoughtful and experienced, who encourages her to live a little. So why is it that as soon as she starts to have some fun, everything goes dangerously wrong?
A gripping coming-of-age adventure that will leave you on the edge of your seat.”
I received this copy from Charlotte herself; however that factor does not in any shape or form affect my review. All thoughts are my opinions.
I really enjoyed this book. It was easy and fast paced and I loved how the chapters had titles for it and were short. Although I think I would have preferred no titles for chapters because it might give away parts of the story.
Anyways, Ora’s Gold is set in Australia, a land I am quite familiar with. However it is set years ahead of time, where resources are low and the SIF (Special Investigation Force) controls all the resources and have recently (maybe 20-30 years I think) gained control over women’s bodies. I feel this setting is realistic because at the rate that we are going at with using resources (and in large amounts) we’ll eventually run out of resources and this world may end up being similar to the one in Ora’s Gold. However, we’ve grown out of our old ways of controlling women (thanks to feminism) so this factor may not appear in the future. I found it strange how no one rebelled against the SIF. Well, hardly anyone anyways. It seems unrealistic because we have many feminists in the world (one of my best bookstagram friends is a passionate one herself) and so if anything like SIF taking over women’s bodies ever did happen, I can foresee a protest approaching.
Anyways, I’ve gotten off topic but I love Ora as a character. She grows and matures into a person who is able to separate her own beliefs from society’s. At the start of the novel, she is a sheep following the crowd and obeying rules because of the fear of punishment. But when she’s thrust into an activist’s world and gets herself into a sticky situation, she begins to understand how wrong the government was. And she begins to trust her own instincts. One of my favourite moments from her would have to be when she goes to do the illegal thing (read to find out what it is because I’m trying to avoid spoilers as best as I can) without thinking because her instinct is to help rather than to listen to rules. I loved how there were spirit animals (I think they are called that). Ora’s spirit animals reminded me of Hogwarts houses (Yes that was the first thing I thought of when I read it).
I loved Dione’s personality as she never backed down from her beliefs. She went against the SIF to protect something that women cherish, the birthing of babies. We never really find out what happens in the Program where women have to go when they’re pregnant but we get the impression that it’s inhumane. Dione is also a good adviser, helping Ora along her journey to becoming the person she is at the end of the novel.
Jake, Ora’s lover, and Ora had a bittersweet relationship. I’m still not entirely sure what to think of it. I feel they fell in love too quickly but that’s probably just me. They were hesitant and everything so I guess their relationship is reasonable. (Yes, I’m still unsure about their relationship) I guess there relationship is normal, even under their circumstance. They fought often but what couple doesn’t. I think I only just disliked the relationship between Jake and Ora, I can’t really think of anything else I disliked. But I did like how Charlotte included periods and stuff because it’s a normal part of the female life and lots of YA books don’t really mention it (Unless you’re Tessa or a female warlock or sterile (Is that the right terminology for females?) then you’re not normal if you don’t get your period).
Overall, I enjoyed this book, inside and out. The cover is gorgeous (I can’t stop looking at it) and detailed and the story itself is unique. I love the characters, how they develop into whom they are at the end and how they learn to live the way they want rather than how the SIF wants. I’m glad we got to see the letter that Ora writes but I still want more. Hopefully there will be a sequel or something to satisfy my need. For a debut novel, Charlotte Young has done a great job and I can’t wait to read more from her in the future. (Yay to Australian authors!)
P.S. Thank you for signing my copy Charlotte! It was a lovely surprise!