Review: Swans and Klons by Nora Olsen
Published by: Bold Strokes Books on May 14, 2013
Genres: Dystopian, GLBT, Science Fiction, YA
View on: Goodreads
Grab it: Buy on Amazon
About the Book:
What does it take to survive in a world built on lies?
Sixteen-year-old Rubric loves her pampered life in the Academy dormitory. She’s dating Salmon Jo, a brilliant and unpredictable girl. In their all-female world, non-human slaves called Klons do all the work. But when Rubric and Salmon Jo break into the laboratory where human and Klon babies are grown in vats, they uncover a terrifying secret that tears their idyllic world apart.
Their friends won’t believe them, and their teachers won’t help them. The Doctors who rule Society want to silence Rubric and Salmon Jo. The two girls must flee for their lives. As they face the unthinkable, the only thing they have left to believe in is their love for each other.
First of all, I love Dystopian literature, so I was really excited to read Swans & Klons by Nora Olsen. The story follows Rubric and her girlfriend, Salmon Jo, through a futuristic society (called Society) where men are extinct and there are 300 genetic types of women, 300 “Jeepie Types”. Young girls are raised in dormitories and when the humans are 16, they get partnered with an adult of their Jeepie Type, their Jeepie Similar, who mentors the young girls on how to be an adult in Society. Women don’t give birth, instead, babies are hatched in tanks at the Hatchery. In addition to the humans, there are Klons, who are also hatched in hatcheries and go to their own dormitories where they are taught to do different labor tasks, because humans do no labor for themselves.
The premise for this novel was really good, and it sounded like an interesting story. Rubric and Salmon Jo discover something about Society that changes their views on life forever, but no one believes them. This sets up an amazing theme for the novel of growing up and questioning what society tells you is acceptable, and forces you to start making your own decisions about things.
Rubric is an ambitious young woman who is extremely artistic and creative. She dreams of building airships and doing great things with her art, so she’s ecstatic when her Jeepie Similar is one of her idols, Stencil Pavlina. However, she is quickly disillusioned when Stencil Pavlina is not exactly who she imagined she would be. To make things worse, Salmon Jo, who was not thrilled with her Jeepie Similar assignment at first, ended up loving her Jeepie Similar assignment.
The two are a cute couple, they seem to compliment each other really well; Rubric is artistic while Salmon Jo is more scientific. The two are well written characters, each with their own quirks and personalities. There’s even strife between Jeepie Similars, which I thought was nice since Jeepie Similars are theoretically supposed to get along because they’re the same genetically.
Overall, it was a really enjoyable and quick read, it could probably be read in an afternoon all in one go. It was different than other dystopian fiction I’ve read (I’ve never read about an all female society before) so that was a nice change.
With all that being said, I kind of disliked how quick of a read it was. I feel like the story could have been developed a lot more, maybe some explanation of how Society came to be, and when it came to be. The only real opposition is a land over a giant wall around Society that is called the Land of the Barbarous Ones, where they still have males and women still get pregnant. I don’t want to say the plot was rushed, because it didn’t necessarily feel rushed, but it was a very quick paced book. Like I said, it could have been developed further and still been a good novel.
All in all, I give the novel 3 out of 5 controllers. It’s definitely worth a read, but I wasn’t blown away by it and the pacing could have been a little slower.
3 out of 5 Controllers