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Gold Fame Citrus | Claire Vaye Watkins | Review

I received this book from Hachette Publishing New Zealand, 
in exchange for an honest review. 
"Your people came here looking for something better.
Gold, fame, citrus."

"In a parched southern California of the near future, Luz, once the poster child for the country’s conservation movement, and Ray, an army deserter turned surfer, are squatting in a starlet’s abandoned mansion ... Holdouts like Ray and Luz subsist on rationed cola and water, and whatever they can loot, scavenge, and improvise ...  
When they cross paths with a mysterious child, the thirst for a better future begins. Heading east, they are waylaid in the desert by a charming and manipulative dowser – a diviner for water -- and his cult-like followers, who have formed a colony in a mysterious sea of dunes."- from Goodreads

Can I just start this review off by saying that I really wanted to get into this book, but I just couldn't. It think it was a mixture of things, but let me first just tell you a little about the plot. Like Goodreads has just explained to us (thank you, Goodreads), Luz and her partner Ray are in the near future California, water is scarce, dust is everywhere (think James Dashner's The Scorch Trials), life as they knew it doesn't exist. They barely survive as it is, but when they stumble across a small child, life changes even more. They run into a group of people in a vast dessert, with a leader who is clearly a madman and runs his followers more like a cult than friends. It's a dodgy outfit, and Luz doesn't really seem to see it.

It's a story full of ugly scenarios and horrible people, but in hindsight, it showed human nature and characteristics, and while that is sad, and a terrible realisation to come to, it's true. One thing that I can say is that it is beautifully written. Much of the chatter on Goodreads and Amazon and the like mention the writing style. Watkins does write extremely well, but I found at times it was too good. What do I mean? I think I mean that at times I was so fixated on the words she was using, and in the way she was using them, that it took away from the story. Every sentence was clearly and carefully thought out and crafted into a descriptive wonder paragraph of words, but it was too much for me. I was distracted with her words, and I didn't really care that much about Luz or the other characters.

However! If you're after a more adult dystopian-like story, definitely pick up Gold Fame Citrus. I thought it was, perhaps, going to be more like the dystopian-like stories I've read and loved over the years, but it was certainly more adult focused and geared towards an older audience than those others. If you're after an incredibly well written book about the horrors and also wonders of humanity, with a
dystopian feel, mixed with science fiction, and has a cult thrown into the mix, give this book a go.

Just because it wasn't for me, doesn't mean it won't be for you. In fact, it may be your new favourite book of the year. Give it a go, and let me know what you think! If you have read it, what did you think? Let me know!

Image from Goodreads.

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