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The Seclusion

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In the year 2090, America has walled itself off from the rest of the world. When her father is arrested by the totalitarian Board, a young woman sets out to escape the only country she’s ever known. While on a routine assignment scouting the viability of dwindling natural resources outside the massive urban centers most American citizens call home, Patricia ’Patch’ and her In the year 2090, America has walled itself off from the rest of the world. When her father is arrested by the totalitarian Board, a young woman sets out to escape the only country she’s ever known. While on a routine assignment scouting the viability of dwindling natural resources outside the massive urban centers most American citizens call home, Patricia ’Patch’ and her co-worker Rexx discover a relic from the past containing dangerous contraband―unedited books from before The Seclusion. These texts will spark an unquenchable thirst for the truth that sees Patch’s father arrested by the totalitarian Board. Evading her own arrest, Patch and Rexx set out across a ruined future United States, seeking some way to escape the only home they’ve ever known. Along the way, they learn about how their country came to be this way and fall in love. But their newfound knowledge may lead to their own demise.


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In the year 2090, America has walled itself off from the rest of the world. When her father is arrested by the totalitarian Board, a young woman sets out to escape the only country she’s ever known. While on a routine assignment scouting the viability of dwindling natural resources outside the massive urban centers most American citizens call home, Patricia ’Patch’ and her In the year 2090, America has walled itself off from the rest of the world. When her father is arrested by the totalitarian Board, a young woman sets out to escape the only country she’s ever known. While on a routine assignment scouting the viability of dwindling natural resources outside the massive urban centers most American citizens call home, Patricia ’Patch’ and her co-worker Rexx discover a relic from the past containing dangerous contraband―unedited books from before The Seclusion. These texts will spark an unquenchable thirst for the truth that sees Patch’s father arrested by the totalitarian Board. Evading her own arrest, Patch and Rexx set out across a ruined future United States, seeking some way to escape the only home they’ve ever known. Along the way, they learn about how their country came to be this way and fall in love. But their newfound knowledge may lead to their own demise.

30 review for The Seclusion

  1. 5 out of 5

    Bella

    I received this ARC in exchange for an honest review: Wow what a ride! The Seclusion was a mixture of The Giver, 1984 and V for Vendetta all rolled into a nice package with a little touch of Trump thrown in. WOW again. The Characters: Patch: What an amazingly strong female lead character. We need more strong females like this in books. She was intelligent, questioned things on her own and didn't have to depend on others to rescue her in every situation. Rexx: My sweet boy, what a doll. While I wi I received this ARC in exchange for an honest review: Wow what a ride! The Seclusion was a mixture of The Giver, 1984 and V for Vendetta all rolled into a nice package with a little touch of Trump thrown in. WOW again. The Characters: Patch: What an amazingly strong female lead character. We need more strong females like this in books. She was intelligent, questioned things on her own and didn't have to depend on others to rescue her in every situation. Rexx: My sweet boy, what a doll. While I wished we had seen his family and gotten to know them like we did Patch's family it was still amazing to get to know him. He had such an openness towards everything and was strong and resourceful. Great character to compliment Patch. Oliver: I love you Oliver, I hope there is a book two and we see you there. A remarkable representation of the good in humanity even when it feels like there is none left. Robbie: I hope, like Oliver, we see you in book 2. You deserve your story to be told. Plot: Like I said it's such an amazing mix of all that makes dystopian novels such wonderful reads. It plays on the fears of Trumps America just enough but allows for other extremest ideas to be explored within it. Well worth the read and it opens up so many opportunities for both books about 2029 and the current situation with Patch.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Cheryl

    This book was so scarily wonderful. I will be asking every teen and fan of YA to read this book when it comes out. While not intended as a cautionary tale, its premise is so plausible in today’s world that the dystopian setting does not seem that far in the future. The premise is engaging, the characters are wonderful and well developed and the writing flows. As soon as I finished reading it, I wanted to start it again, I cannot wait until others can read and start talking about this book! It ha This book was so scarily wonderful. I will be asking every teen and fan of YA to read this book when it comes out. While not intended as a cautionary tale, its premise is so plausible in today’s world that the dystopian setting does not seem that far in the future. The premise is engaging, the characters are wonderful and well developed and the writing flows. As soon as I finished reading it, I wanted to start it again, I cannot wait until others can read and start talking about this book! It has an ending that leaves the reader satisfied. I sure do hope that the author writes a sequel soon, though, because I want more more more!

  3. 4 out of 5

    Audrey

    This was dystopian sci-fi with a 1984 type totalitarian government. The basic premise is that the United States has built walls on all of its boarders and now The Board monitors and controls every aspect of everyone’s lives. As an American, it made me think, “what if we really did start building walls?” I liked that this book is set in a near enough future that there is still some history in the minds of a few citizens. The main characters are young and they don’t know any other way of life. Thei This was dystopian sci-fi with a 1984 type totalitarian government. The basic premise is that the United States has built walls on all of its boarders and now The Board monitors and controls every aspect of everyone’s lives. As an American, it made me think, “what if we really did start building walls?” I liked that this book is set in a near enough future that there is still some history in the minds of a few citizens. The main characters are young and they don’t know any other way of life. Their lack of knowledge plays an important role in their journey. This book did a really good job of not giving you too much information before you needed it. It kept the story moving along at a fast pace, but I never felt lost or confused. I really enjoyed it and I thought the ending was great.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Kevin Walker

    "The Seclusion" is a thought-provoking novel that offers a possible future for America if leadership is left unchecked and the people fail to exercise their democratic authority over their government. Echoes of "1984", "Atlas Shrugged", "The Hunger Games", and "Divergent" can be heard in its pages. The final chapters left me wanting more. Don't pass up Ms. Castle's new book!

  5. 4 out of 5

    Michelle

    My full review can be found on the Epilie Aspie Chick blog! This story starts out strong and quickly turns into a very frightening tale of how protection can easily be distorted into complete control and manipulation of a people. The world created by the author is so real you can taste it as its painted as this lovely, equality based society where everyone has a place to be, health coverage, and a job. It doesn't take long before that mirage is twisted into what it really is: that these people My full review can be found on the Epilie Aspie Chick blog! This story starts out strong and quickly turns into a very frightening tale of how protection can easily be distorted into complete control and manipulation of a people. The world created by the author is so real you can taste it as its painted as this lovely, equality based society where everyone has a place to be, health coverage, and a job. It doesn't take long before that mirage is twisted into what it really is: that these people are a select few from those who were originally here, the age of those who live is much shorter than it used to be, and the "rehabilitation" of those who don't follow the society's rules isn't nearly as heroic as they make it seem. Patricia, known as Patch, starts out as a believer in the system. Her world was perfect and she loved her place in America until that van appeared and than Rexx spilled his guts on what he knew to be shortly after. Everything about what she believed in falls apart and all she can do is run forward or face the consequences of going against the Board in control of America now. Realizing that your entire life is a fabricated lie is huge and somehow she takes it entirely in stride in a way thats almost unbelievable.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Robert Batten

    The Seclusion is the debut novel from journalist Jacqui Castle and it’s a ripper. The story is set in a dystopian future America that has been twisted into an isolationist authoritarian nation, separated from the rest of the world by the enormous Northern and Southern Security Borders. All history predating the walls is banned and information is tightly controlled. In this new America, the people are ruled by a faceless board and mindless patriotism is favored above all else. Into this setting w The Seclusion is the debut novel from journalist Jacqui Castle and it’s a ripper. The story is set in a dystopian future America that has been twisted into an isolationist authoritarian nation, separated from the rest of the world by the enormous Northern and Southern Security Borders. All history predating the walls is banned and information is tightly controlled. In this new America, the people are ruled by a faceless board and mindless patriotism is favored above all else. Into this setting we meet Patricia. As an environmental scientist, she’s one of the few people permitted to roam beyond the city walls. It’s while on one of these research trips she stumbles upon a trove of forbidden information that triggers a harrowing sequence of events. There’s no pretending The Seclusion isn’t political. It was written before the election of Trump, but many will see it as prescient, with the world it paints an extreme conclusion to the right-wing populism currently sweeping not just the USA, but many other countries as well. Basically, if you’re a racist, right-wing conservative who doesn’t believe in human rights, you’re probably not going to enjoy The Seclusion. Suck it. I loved this novel. Patricia is a great protagonist who grows throughout as events spiral out of control. The world, though extreme, is well realized and the journey from present-day to dystopian future all too believable. Disclaimer: I read an advance review copy of this novel. However, I had already pre-ordered and paid for a retail copy before receiving the version I reviewed. The author, Jacqui Castle, and I are both contributors on the Writing Bloc website.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Michelle

    In real life, the idea of building a wall to keep people out illegally sounds like a good idea to some people. But what if they built a wall that kept you in? Everyone in a place of authority lied the same lie, only let you know what you needed to know to do your job, and you couldn't speak of it outside of work? And then you find evidence of the real truth...I need the next book! This was amazing, easy to relate to reality.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Isabel

    I recieved an ARC through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. I thought this was kinda be a bad or shittier Matched. Like, the love aspect is there in the book and I didn't really believe it but it was nothing like Matched at all. When I first read Matched, it was a favorite. I devoured the books but it hasn't really stood the test of time. I'm sure a lot of us can relate to that. I don't know why I did think it was gonna be like Matched by Ally Condie, but I'm glad it wasn't. While it h I recieved an ARC through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. I thought this was kinda be a bad or shittier Matched. Like, the love aspect is there in the book and I didn't really believe it but it was nothing like Matched at all. When I first read Matched, it was a favorite. I devoured the books but it hasn't really stood the test of time. I'm sure a lot of us can relate to that. I don't know why I did think it was gonna be like Matched by Ally Condie, but I'm glad it wasn't. While it has some similar aspects such as "The Board" in the book can be related to "the officials" in Matched, and there are similarities, in this book it feels more developed. It feels a bit more organic, and some of the things honestly reminded me about The Handmaid's Tale (obs! not the book but the series). There are some problematic things in the book I really didn't get such as the love aspect which just left me ???? okay ??? but I'm not gonna go into spoilers. One thing that also slightly bothered me was information dumps. There was a lot of them, and they didn't really seem to be in the right place most of the time even though I get WHY they were there. I think I'd read this book again or definitely check out the author with more books.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Becky

    This was everything I want in a post apocalypse book. The world was as we know it is gone and the one Particia or "patch" is living in is a world where everyone and everything they do is monitored the place she lives is surrounded by a giant wall and they are told by the "board" (government as we know it is gone) that everything on the other side of the wall is bad and will kill them. To say during this time we are in this book is a possible future for the U.S. may still be a stretch but its far This was everything I want in a post apocalypse book. The world was as we know it is gone and the one Particia or "patch" is living in is a world where everyone and everything they do is monitored the place she lives is surrounded by a giant wall and they are told by the "board" (government as we know it is gone) that everything on the other side of the wall is bad and will kill them. To say during this time we are in this book is a possible future for the U.S. may still be a stretch but its far closer to being a possible reality then it was 3 years ago. The character building for Patch was perfect weak mild to brave was a steady build. I absolutely loved this book and can not wait for the next installmen.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Dave Milbrandt

    I received a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for an honest review of its merits. As we are living in a time where we are discussing the height and depth of a wall separating America from its southern neighbors, and we have a president focused on putting America First, there is definitely some timeliness to this piece. The story was well told and engaging, serving as a dystopian warning that if certain trends continue, the result may be something we should not encourage to continue.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Diego Sanchez

    I received this ARC in exchange of my honest opinion, which does not affect any of my comments. "Daddy? Will you shoot me if I say something I'm not supposed to?".: Imagine a world where you cannot read, watch tv shows, travel, work and be who you are because you are being controlled by the government. Not very good, right?. The Seclusion is your perfect book if you love stories related to dystopian worlds. As you know, I have always wanted to go back to this kind of stories, since I was a huge fa I received this ARC in exchange of my honest opinion, which does not affect any of my comments. "Daddy? Will you shoot me if I say something I'm not supposed to?".: Imagine a world where you cannot read, watch tv shows, travel, work and be who you are because you are being controlled by the government. Not very good, right?. The Seclusion is your perfect book if you love stories related to dystopian worlds. As you know, I have always wanted to go back to this kind of stories, since I was a huge fan of "The Hunger Games". I was not disappointed. In this story we have Patch, a girl who works for "The Board" taking samples of different environmental things. She lives in the United States, in the part that is close to Arizona and its surroundings, but this country is secluded by a Board (Which could be the famous Trump' Wall) and they are not allowed to pass it. Till one day, she and her best friend start questioning everything I really enjoyed the characters. As you know, I'm very honest when reading a book, but this time, I didn't feel that a character lacked of something or it was way too descriptive. I really enjoyed the female here, we can see her transition from stability to insecurity. The same with the secondary characters, who I cannot describe properly in order to not spoil you, but those were my favorites and I was very anxious for them. I also could hate the officers, since I could not only but relate them with the actual situation between the US and Mexico I liked that there is a huge description of the places (trees, roads, sky) because that totally helps my imagination to see where they are living in. I think that there are two options, love all the benefits you have or hate it and try to be free without any money. Due to this fact, I think the book has a good progress, since we can see in every chapter a "soap opera ending", meaning that you will always discover something new, and definitely, you need to read till the end of the book to guess what is happening. Finally, Jacqui is doing a good job at writing, this is perfect if you want to go from happiness to sadness, anxiety, fear and joyful. I was having a lot of emotions and definitely, this will be at my top this year. Rating: 4 stars.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Kerys

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. Note: I was offered an arc through NetGalley in exchange for my honest opinions. These options are my own and no one else’s. Also, this is a slightly different review based on my thoughts WHILE reading the book. I will publish a more in-depth (not bullet pointed !) review on my blog, nearer the time of publication. This book was really good! Here are some of my thoughts on the book! It has spoilers so sorry but not like major spoilers. * So it started of by telling us about the wall and also hin Note: I was offered an arc through NetGalley in exchange for my honest opinions. These options are my own and no one else’s. Also, this is a slightly different review based on my thoughts WHILE reading the book. I will publish a more in-depth (not bullet pointed !) review on my blog, nearer the time of publication. This book was really good! Here are some of my thoughts on the book! It has spoilers so sorry but not like major spoilers. * So it started of by telling us about the wall and also hinting how nobody knows how secure it really is * ‘The devil lies in the details’ *Ooh... I like secrets. And that’s a pretty good idea * Mc is 22. I thought it was too old but not really. * She likes the feeling of dirt and doesn’t want to enhance herself with beauty things. * The girs’s clever! She knows science and stuff! *YAY!! She has flaws and she has real life struggles like forgetting to go shopping!! * But she has that friend who doubts? Maybe too similar to other plots *Cos it’s always like oh no after a disaster world. We’ve got a great world but there must be some secrets. Looks for secrets. Realises whole life life is a lie. Torture. Pain. And I’m guessing there’s going to be a revolt in the next book???? * OMG!!! They find a secret suitcase full of ‘printed, bound, ink and paper books’ *Love that description but they should Obviously LEAVE. * The fact that Patricia thinks there are only patriots or traitors made it quite unique. You can’t really be just one or the other. * ’Musty, aged paper - that grassy, vanilla smell’ oh no 😱 YOU CANNOT BURN THE BOOKS?!?!? * The betrayal was really sad but the fact that Patricia isn’t like super mad means that she’s really stupid or too kind. * She’s also cool in an intense situation! She knows what to pack and stuff but also has emotions and freezes. * I like how quotes from other books are used * That’s pretty cool * Patricia also knows what’s important and doesn’t mope or throw a tantrum because Rexx didn’t tell her about the letter * but NOOOOO DOES THERE HAVE TO BEE ROMANCE BETWEEN THE TWO MAIN CHARACTERS?????? * I’d have preferred it if Rexx stayed a bit broken and so did Patricia and the romance came like right at the end of the book. * i mean they lost they’re best friend and Rexx lost his girlfriend and he should be acting all broken and guilty not like ‘I’ve wanted to do that for a long time?????’ * ughhhhh. * Seriously? His girlfriend’s probably dead and he can’t just fall in love with his girlfriend’s (and his) best friend??? * But it was sweet * if Rexx stayed broken, tho, it would have hurt my heart more and made me love him even more but I guess I can get over him and Patricia * oh and there wasn’t a love triangle between Oliver Rexx and Patricia which is always good * I think the statement ‘It felt like a lifetime’ is quite overrated. You’d probably find something like that (if not the exact words) in probably every dystopian story? * I like how her pain wasn’t under or over exaggerated so it made it easy for me to sympathise with Patricia * Also made it seem as if they’d never get out which kept me wondering cos they’d have to get out somehow. * I love the bit when she said the five details about her father! It was so sweet! * The chapters ended on cliffhangers and made me want to keep reading * The ending wasn’t like a MASSIVE cliffhanger which is good but I NEED a second book. * Omg what happens next??? Does Rex come back?? Omg he can’t be dead!?!?!? I neeed my small broken baby to come back!!!!

  13. 5 out of 5

    Jenny Yergin

    This was a quick read for me because once I started it, I couldn't put it down! With the political themes it hit very close to home. I think it will be successful, I worry though since it isn't set very far into the future if it will be outdated in 5/10 years. I believe teens and adults that enjoy dystopian story lines will enjoy this book and those that see the comparisons with the current political climate in our country right now. I highly recommend the book.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Nprice84

    I couldn't stop turning pages because I loved how a bit more of The Seclusion's interesting world was revealed each chapter. Some of the plot elements were extremely relevant to the modern era and made a big impact. Much of the details were scarily plausible and I couldn't help but imagine my own child living in this world. It was a really fun book to read, and I hope there is a sequel.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Cari

    When I first found Jacqui Castle on Inkshares, I was immediately intrigued by the premise of this book. I knew I had to have it right away, backed it, and then I was lucky to get an early copy from NetGalley. Patricia Collins lives in a world surrounded by walls. In this future, where America is run by a Board of Directors, she has lived her entire life knowing she is safe. The country has been protected ever since The Seclusion, when society retreated behind huge barriers at each of our borders. When I first found Jacqui Castle on Inkshares, I was immediately intrigued by the premise of this book. I knew I had to have it right away, backed it, and then I was lucky to get an early copy from NetGalley. Patricia Collins lives in a world surrounded by walls. In this future, where America is run by a Board of Directors, she has lived her entire life knowing she is safe. The country has been protected ever since The Seclusion, when society retreated behind huge barriers at each of our borders. Her work assignment, apartment, and even what she watches on TV is all planned for her. She doesn't have to think about anything. But when she discovers that her family has a history of rebellion against the government, she starts to question her role in this world. And when she digs deeper, she finds that she's willing to risk everything she loves in order to find out what is beyond the walls. At first, it took me some time to connect with Patch as a character. She seemed somewhat boring, a doormat. But then I learned that everyone in this society is a doormat - they're sheep people, prodded by the government to do what they "should" do. This book's strength is Patch's character arc - her slow realization that she is not a sheep. She has the power to change her life, and it's worth doing, despite the risk. It's hard to say much without giving up the full story, but by the end, I was fully rooting for her and with her on her journey. Much like THE HANDMAID'S TALE, it was a bit terrifying to think about this book in the context of our current situation, but I'm hoping that this story can be a mirror for our country. And I'm hanging on to the hope that is ever-present throughout the novel. Full disclosure - Jacqui is a fellow Inkshares author, and we have worked together on a few projects. Review is honest, though. While I give most books 4-5 stars, I don't usually finish books that I'm not connecting with. I know that authors work so hard on their manuscripts, so I want to review the ones that I truly feel passionate about.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Tonja Drecker

    This is a book for fans of books like Divergent or The Giver as it goes deep into the life of one young woman as she slowly awakens to a greater world around her. Patricia is satisfied with life. She's got a better job than most with more freedoms than many and has a caring family. The Board, the ruling group, won't tolerate anything beyond their rules, but she's okay with that. Until her and her best friend, Rexx, make a discovery which turns everything they've been taught on its head. Suddenly, This is a book for fans of books like Divergent or The Giver as it goes deep into the life of one young woman as she slowly awakens to a greater world around her. Patricia is satisfied with life. She's got a better job than most with more freedoms than many and has a caring family. The Board, the ruling group, won't tolerate anything beyond their rules, but she's okay with that. Until her and her best friend, Rexx, make a discovery which turns everything they've been taught on its head. Suddenly, Patricia finds herself a fugitive, something she never wanted to be. The is an engaging, dystopian read which takes many of the lovely aspects found in this genre and builds them around a character with great depth. The author lets the reader get to know Patricia in and out, not at the point right before everything starts falling apart as in most dystopians, but earlier on. Much of the first half of the book is spent getting to know the daily life, dreams, and fears of Patricia as she lives fairly satisfied and convinced of the country and its policies. The doctrines and brief moments of information give light to the society and regulations, but the real dirt comes later on. This makes for a bit of a slower read in the first chapters, but also gives the reader a deepened connection to Patricia and understanding of her plight. As the story progresses, the tension grows. It's hard not to become invested in Patricia and her struggles, making this is read hard to put down, especially toward the last chapters. Emotions are evoked while the plot builds, and the entire thing leaves off with a cliff hanger, begging to head off into book two to see what happens next. Food for thought peppers the pages as the problems fall in bit by bit. A couple background pieces are fuzzy, but most sits pretty firm and allows the reader to sink into the story. Fans of YA dystopian are sure to enjoy this one, especially if they like having a little time to dig deeper into the main character and society first. I'm looking forward to seeing where the next book will take Patricia and her friends. I received a complimentary copy and found it interesting and engaging enough to want to leave my honest thoughts.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Pibrocher

    America unified and secure - what price would you be willing to pay? The Seclusion provides a great vehicle for exploring this question and leaves the reader hoping that this all too possible tale remains a work of fiction. The nation's citizens are cared for, protected, and entertained - all of this in exchange for their unerring obedience and disclosure - So what should a smart, obedient scientist do when she discovers something they don't want anyone to know? I loved Patch's journey from duti America unified and secure - what price would you be willing to pay? The Seclusion provides a great vehicle for exploring this question and leaves the reader hoping that this all too possible tale remains a work of fiction. The nation's citizens are cared for, protected, and entertained - all of this in exchange for their unerring obedience and disclosure - So what should a smart, obedient scientist do when she discovers something they don't want anyone to know? I loved Patch's journey from dutiful employee of The Board and member of society to a fiery champion for change. Her adventure across the wastelands of the future United States is exhilarating and eerie and just the sort of fiction that chills you in the shadow of recent news and events. A cathartic, world-shattering, cautionary tale for our modern age of ideological and informational landmines. The Seclusion reminds us why we must tread carefully!

  18. 5 out of 5

    Fernando

    The Seclusion is a fascinating and frightening YA book about what the United States could look like in the near future if border walls were built and an oppressive government took power. Jacqui Castle created a timely story, acutely relevant to current events and our current governmental situation. My word cloud about this book: border walls, isolationism, oppression, evil, oligarchy, authoritarian nationalism, total control. These are heavy themes but the story is fashioned beautifully for a YA The Seclusion is a fascinating and frightening YA book about what the United States could look like in the near future if border walls were built and an oppressive government took power. Jacqui Castle created a timely story, acutely relevant to current events and our current governmental situation. My word cloud about this book: border walls, isolationism, oppression, evil, oligarchy, authoritarian nationalism, total control. These are heavy themes but the story is fashioned beautifully for a YA audience, those who might benefit the most from this prescient forewarning.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Kerri

    This book is eerily prophetic. First they built the southern wall. They built the northern wall. Then America gave up every freedom for it's own "safety". Although sometimes heavy handed, with a bit of uninspired dialogue, this book was a horror story of the worst kind. Surely the beginning of a series, I am afraid of where it (and we) might end up in this narrative.

  20. 5 out of 5

    The Nerd Daily

    Originally published on The Nerd Daily | Review by Blake Smith "Our entire nation had been lied to for decades. Millions murdered to fit a narrative. We had no idea what was taking place outside the Walls. Whether we were being protected as we were told, or caged. We lived lives guided primarily by fear." I was given The Seclusion in exchange for an honest review! I am so happy to have had the opportunity to read and review Jacqui Castle’s debut novel! Set in a dystopian future in the year 2090, Am Originally published on The Nerd Daily | Review by Blake Smith "Our entire nation had been lied to for decades. Millions murdered to fit a narrative. We had no idea what was taking place outside the Walls. Whether we were being protected as we were told, or caged. We lived lives guided primarily by fear." I was given The Seclusion in exchange for an honest review! I am so happy to have had the opportunity to read and review Jacqui Castle’s debut novel! Set in a dystopian future in the year 2090, America has enclosed itself to the outside world by building walls around all surrounding borders to keep out unwanted immigrants and terrorists. The Wall is meant to protect the residents of America. Sound familiar? The government controls everything. Where people live, what they watch, what they eat, where they go; every aspect of their lives is controlled by a faceless entity referred to as “The Board”. "The Board provides. The Board protects. I am grateful for the protection." This phrase is ingrained into every citizens’ brain—including Patch. Patch is the protagonist of the story and wants nothing more in this life than to keep her head down. She wants to do her job by taking samples of the earth to determine the toxicity levels, and tend to her tiny garden in front of her apartment. Patch has always obeyed the laws, taking every video and public service announcement the Board sends out to heart. She shuns and steers clear of others who have turned their backs on the government and is constantly questioning why anyone would ever question the Board or want to leave the comfort of the Walls. However, her point of view starts to shift when Patch and her friend Rexx discover an old broken-down van while on one of their assignments. Despite her initial reaction to immediately report the van, Patch and Rexx search the vehicle for any clues of what life was like before the Wall. What they find is simply a glimpse into life many years before their time. The van is loaded with maps and books; contraband that is illegal now that The Board is in charge. Hiding this discovery would surely mean punishment or perhaps even death. It’s too late to turn back now though, as Patch’s curiosity has sparked into a burning flame. The duo decides to confide in her parents and show them the vehicle to hopefully garner some more information and truly understand what is happening. After an awkward car ride to the van, Patch and Rexx show them their discovery. Although shocked at the finding, her father is familiar with the books and recounts what his life was like during The Board’s overtaking of the country. Patch and Rexx are dumbfounded and can’t believe what they are hearing. They have been lied to their entire lives; knowing nothing other than what their parents and the Board has been feeding them. After digesting this information, they return to their homes. However, after dropping off her parents and taking Rexx back to his apartment, they receive a message. “Geoffrey Collins is being held in federal custody on charges of treason. An investigation into the charges has begun. You will be informed of the results.” Patch’s father had already been taken into custody only shortly after returning home. Thoughts and fears race through their minds as they know it’s only a matter of time before The Board will be after them as well. They must decide—run and try to find life beyond the Wall, or stay, and most likely face their death for committing treason. Rexx and Patch ultimately decide to take their chances to try to find a new life for themselves beyond their polluted city. The journey they embark on is filled with adventures, quirky new characters, and dangerous encounters. I don’t want to further spoil anything, but this novel has been a fun surprise to read. The world that Jacqui Castle creates could potentially be a very relatable one sooner than we think and it is interesting to even think about this type of dystopian future. Overall, I give this book an 8 /10. If you’re a fan of The Hunger Games or Divergent series, I highly recommend The Seclusion to you. The only reason I didn’t rate it higher is because of detail. I wish she would have delved into life before the Wall and maybe even did a deeper back story on Patch’s family. The full book is around 290 pages, but I sincerely believe it could have easily been 600 if she would have added more detail. Other than that, the book was a fantastic and exciting novel. I look forward to following Patch’s journey and other work from Jacqui Castle.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Emma

    I really enjoyed this book, I just felt that the ending was rather abrupt. I think there could have been at least another 100 pages. But other than that, it was a great fast paced story that was really interesting to read.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Elli Andrews

    Patricia lives to work for the Board, a totalitarian government that rules a futuristic version of America surrounded by a giant wall. When she and her friend Rexx make a discovery from the past however, she starts to question everything she has ever believed… The Seclusion for me is very reminiscent of 1984 or Equilibrium - not that that is particularly a bad thing as I enjoyed both of those stories, it just makes it a little predictable in places. An indoctrinated protagonist who find something Patricia lives to work for the Board, a totalitarian government that rules a futuristic version of America surrounded by a giant wall. When she and her friend Rexx make a discovery from the past however, she starts to question everything she has ever believed… The Seclusion for me is very reminiscent of 1984 or Equilibrium - not that that is particularly a bad thing as I enjoyed both of those stories, it just makes it a little predictable in places. An indoctrinated protagonist who find something that tears their vision of the regime to pieces and makes them question everything they have held dear – it’s very standard. I must admit it’s well written, engaging and easy to read which got me to power through and finish it in 2 days so I can’t really hold its predictability too much against it. The plot describes a world not too dissimilar from our own – particularly when you consider Trump and his Mexican wall – which makes it all the more chilling to read. This book is very much the start of a series – it ends on a cliff hanger which inspires you to want to pick up the next in the series to find out more. I did think occasionally the plot skipped over certain parts of the history of the world which I would have perhaps wanted to find out more about – but I think this may be explored later in the series. Whilst I enjoyed the world building, the characters lacked a bit of depth for me. I loved how we are introduced fully to Patricia in her indoctrinated state which can be glazed over in other dystopian stories but felt the character progression wasn’t as deep as it could have been – both her and Rex felt two dimensional in places. I was particularly sad that Oliver’s character wasn’t as explored as he could have been – I would have liked him to open up a little more as a character. Overall I did enjoy reading The Seclusion; it’s well written and chillingly focused on a world so very close to ours, however it’s predictability and lack of character depth let it down in places. Thank you to NetGalley and Inkshares for a copy of the ARC in exchange for an honest review. You can read more of my reviews here: www.kindig.co.uk

  23. 5 out of 5

    Bob Lyle

    I received this ARC from the Author (After I did some pestering) Brief Synopsis The year is 2090, and the walls are closing in. While on a routine assignment scouting the viability of dwindling natural resources outside the massive urban centres most American citizens call home, Patricia ’Patch’ and her co-worker Rexx discover a relic from the past containing dangerous contraband—unedited books from before The Seclusion. These texts will spark an unquenchable thirst for the truth that sees Patch’s I received this ARC from the Author (After I did some pestering) Brief Synopsis The year is 2090, and the walls are closing in. While on a routine assignment scouting the viability of dwindling natural resources outside the massive urban centres most American citizens call home, Patricia ’Patch’ and her co-worker Rexx discover a relic from the past containing dangerous contraband—unedited books from before The Seclusion. These texts will spark an unquenchable thirst for the truth that sees Patch’s father arrested by the totalitarian Board. Evading her own arrest, Patch and Rexx set out across a ruined future United States, seeking some way to escape the only home they’ve ever known. Along the way, they learn about how their country came to be this way and fall in love. But their newfound knowledge may lead to their own demise. The Seclusion is the debut novel from journalist Jacqui Castle and I have to say I loved from start to finish. I read that The Seclusion was classed as a (YA- Young adult Novel) so let me first say I am way older than YA I'm more of a (VOA - Very Old Adult) that said I also consider myself a connoisseur of all things dystopia. This is a well fleshed out novel with hints of 1984, Fahrenheit 451, not a bad thing in my opinion. The storyline is well thought out, Terrifying at times and also politically thought-provoking. Imagine living and being secluded from the rest of the world by vast Northern and Southern Security Borders in a world where history from before the borders is forbidden and information is rigorously controlled. Are the walls to keep enemies out, or you in? Are the Board for you or against you? Shush.................. someone might be listening! If you are a fan of any kind of dystopian fiction this one is for you ! Unite this Nation Through storm and drought Sister North and Brother South Sturdy; strong Built to last Shelter us from troubles past From adversaries Far and wide All dangers on the other side Give us hope; Fill us with awe With pride we serve the Board, the law In your shadow We will be Secure for all eternity Dedication to the Walls (Composed in 2031 by the Board) The Seclusion is released on 4th September 2018.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Liz Kerin

    If you're anything like me, you were fascinated by books like "The Giver" growing up, and later on, grounded dystopias like "1984." If that's you, then "The Seclusion" is VERY MUCH for you. Dystopia has blown up in recent years, but this is a more nuanced, intellectually detailed adventure than those stories about kids in spandex jumpsuits hunting each other for sport. Castle has constructed a remarkably chilling world and leaves no stone unturned. Every ritual, every law, and every transgressio If you're anything like me, you were fascinated by books like "The Giver" growing up, and later on, grounded dystopias like "1984." If that's you, then "The Seclusion" is VERY MUCH for you. Dystopia has blown up in recent years, but this is a more nuanced, intellectually detailed adventure than those stories about kids in spandex jumpsuits hunting each other for sport. Castle has constructed a remarkably chilling world and leaves no stone unturned. Every ritual, every law, and every transgression in this world has layers. It reminds us of a place like North Korea rather than some imaginary country of the future. Our character relationships are intriguing and filled with silences about memories that are too painful-or dangerous-to speak of. Patch and Rexx have a history, but not that kind you'd expect. Their friendship subverts a lot of typical characterizations, which is an enjoyable change of pace. My personal taste for fiction isn't always so topical, I'm personally more of an escapist, so sometimes I shied away from elements of this story that felt really prescient given our country's current state. However, the author definitely began work on this book before the 2016 election and before the idea of being "walled in" ever occurred to us as our potential reality. Overall, this is an artfully crafted, grounded dystopia that has earned its place beside my other favorites from the genre.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Ralph J

    Suspenseful dystopian novel about American future where corporations have taken over and limited freedom for everyone's safety. The ending left me gasping for the sequel with a powerful woman taking on the powers that be.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Sue R

    I love author's first books and this one is amazing. Can't wait to read the next one.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Melissa (YA Book Shelf)

    Between 3.5 and 4 Stars. Honestly, The Seclusion was an intense ride of a book. From the first few pages, I was hooked on the story, and the clearly delineated dystopian world that Patch finds herself in once the blinders come off. The creepy board members can’t be emphasized enough. The ability of the author to offer tension exactly when the story needs it is masterful. Clearly there’s a lot to love about this book. While I was reading the ARC of the book, I did notice a few errors that I hope Between 3.5 and 4 Stars. Honestly, The Seclusion was an intense ride of a book. From the first few pages, I was hooked on the story, and the clearly delineated dystopian world that Patch finds herself in once the blinders come off. The creepy board members can’t be emphasized enough. The ability of the author to offer tension exactly when the story needs it is masterful. Clearly there’s a lot to love about this book. While I was reading the ARC of the book, I did notice a few errors that I hope they corrected before publication and took me out of the story sometimes. I also thought it was unbelievable that even though Patch has never seen anyone of 80 or more, she refers to a few people she meets of being in their 80s before speaking to them, which makes no sense. These items took me out of the story. I also think it’s odd that the copyright page doesn’t acknowledge that there are quotes from several books, including A Tale of Two Cities and Les Misérables. I wonder if there will be a sequel because even though it could be a standalone, I would love to read more.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Koeur

    Publishing Date: September 2018 Publisher: Inkshares ISBN: 9781947848511 Genre: Dystopian Rating: 3.3/5 Publisher’s Description: In the year 2090, America has walled itself off from the rest of the world. When her father is arrested by the totalitarian Board, a young woman sets out to escape the only country she’s ever known. While on a routine assignment scouting the country’s dwindling natural resources, Patricia “Patch” and her coworker and best friend Rexx discover a cache of dangerous contraband Publishing Date: September 2018 Publisher: Inkshares ISBN: 9781947848511 Genre: Dystopian Rating: 3.3/5 Publisher’s Description: In the year 2090, America has walled itself off from the rest of the world. When her father is arrested by the totalitarian Board, a young woman sets out to escape the only country she’s ever known. While on a routine assignment scouting the country’s dwindling natural resources, Patricia “Patch” and her coworker and best friend Rexx discover a cache of dangerous contraband—printed books from before the Seclusion. These texts spark an unquenchable thirst for the truth that sees Patch’s father arrested by the totalitarian Board, which runs the entire country. Evading their own arrest, Patch and Rexx set out across a ruined future United States, seeking some way to escape the only home they’ve ever known. Along the way, they learn about how their country came to be this way, but their newfound knowledge may lead to their own demise. (view spoiler)[ Review: The Good– The first movement where Patch is more or less a drone to the ruling Board is wonderful. Strange deaths, blind programmed allegiance among a sea of potential traitors and a history uncovered was just the tip to this wonderful story line. And finally a main female character that is not constantly swooning over a hunky boy(s), but rather focused on SURVIVAL. What this created was room for character expansion while making intimate interactions more poignant. Thank you Jacqui for that. The Bad- The main premise behind the whole novel is one of great acceptance. The idea that the entire United States is overthrown by our own government, is a stretch. There is no way that our government acting without a common threat or under bleak economic circumstances (i.e. Hitler), would be able to corral 260 million people, especially when everyone hates their actions. Add to that, Wisconsin alone is the third largest standing army in the world. There are some referents to nuking our own people but that does not make sense either (contamination and subsequent extirpation of resources). The world built is hardly supportable, if indeed you reside in a nuclear wasteland. The Ugly- So again we have a story line that is reminiscent of the Mockingjay what with the Katniss clone and a hunky unrequited love interest. There is the big bad Board and all the trappings of a dystopian society. Of course Katn…….er, Patch is the lone savior. What bothered me most was the weak character development. There was plenty of movement but it was not tied to the characters growing with the story line. There are many pivotal moments in the story that could have provided this depth but the author chose to go into pages and pages of backstory. Building a history of a person based on past events does not a character make. Characters are made by the current actions they embrace and the emotional interactions that ensue. For instance; to be wary of someone, then not, just doesn’t endear you to their plight. Blondie and Tuco have a drink- At the end of the novel I had a hard time swallowing the whole speal. It really lent credence to an unsupportable world. But, reluctantly I had a good time with it. Mainly because Patch hadn’t glued her boobs to Rexx’s chiseled abs while smelling his chocolaty/pine musky scent. Really, you don’t know how much of a relief that is. The writing is good but lacks it’s own voice. Ideas are borrowed from other established works, only the names have been changed. You see this a lot with authors that have the technical talent but lack the inner creative voice. I kind of look forward to this new author to see whether she can build depth of character and create a believable world based on her own wild imaginations. p.s. Note to author: Leave Rexx where he currently is. That’s a start, is it not? (hide spoiler)] You can read all of my reviews, here.

  29. 4 out of 5

    D Gillis

    "In the year 2090, America has walled itself off from the rest of the world. When her father is arrested by the totalitarian Board, a young woman sets out to escape the only country she's ever known." In the future America information is strictly rationed. Everything is filtered through the Board before the public has access to it. There is no history before the walls were built. Everyone is chipped within moments of birth and children from ages 5 to 18 live in dormitories. They are educated and "In the year 2090, America has walled itself off from the rest of the world. When her father is arrested by the totalitarian Board, a young woman sets out to escape the only country she's ever known." In the future America information is strictly rationed. Everything is filtered through the Board before the public has access to it. There is no history before the walls were built. Everyone is chipped within moments of birth and children from ages 5 to 18 live in dormitories. They are educated and trained to weed out potential traitors, its their civic duty. When Patricia and Rexx discover a hidden cache of forbidden contraband (a suitcase full of books) they set in motion a series of events that lead to Patricia's father being imprisoned. Patricia and Rexx set out into the unknown wilderness, hoping to escape capture themselves. I devoured this book in a single day. I cannot imagine living in a world where books are illegal and being caught with one means being imprisoned. Or living with cameras in every room of my home, being watched 24/7. And the idea of being cut off from the world by impassable walls is scary for obvious reasons. I highly recommend this action-packed, dystopian novel. Thank you Inkshares for sending me this advance reader's copy in exchange for an honest review.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Gmr

    Once upon a time, there was a United States of America...strong, powerful, willing to help others, and welcome those looking for a better life. Once upon a time, this was a reality...until it wasn't. All it took was the wrong person in the right position for the powers that be to take control from Johnny Q. Public. All it took was an act of terrorism on such a grand scale that those with the means to fund full scale restoration could gain the upper hand. All it took was the masses no longer spea Once upon a time, there was a United States of America...strong, powerful, willing to help others, and welcome those looking for a better life. Once upon a time, this was a reality...until it wasn't. All it took was the wrong person in the right position for the powers that be to take control from Johnny Q. Public. All it took was an act of terrorism on such a grand scale that those with the means to fund full scale restoration could gain the upper hand. All it took was the masses no longer speaking out en masse, but swallowing the lies, hiding the truth, and ultimately playing right into the hands of moguls that should never have had their chance at controlling power to begin with...and that's all it took for a great nation to become...secluded. The seclusion was enacted to provide for and grow strong the remaining people of this once great nation. If considered a patriot, you were golden; take a step out of line, and it could be the last step you take. Really though, what reason would one have to cause discord? You received housing, a job based on interest and aptitude, monthly credits for food and a few extras, reliable transportation, and the ability to live a life serving the greater good...aka the Board. Oh, yeah...did you see a distinct lack of me mentioning the word "freedom" in there? Yeah, not an accident and it gets worse. I mean COME ON! A world without books...or at least without printed books, or those that have been sanctioned by the Board? Security of a survivable life, but without the freedom to say, do, or act to any degree outside what is expected? I just...no. Think a bit Hunger Games, and a dash of Divergent. Now, spread it over our own history in the making like butter on a biscuit, and you've got this delectably dark, sinister, and ultimately POSSIBLE story you won't want to miss! Seriously, it was eye-opening and mind-boggling all in one. Patch and Rexx were quite the pair, from start to finish. They played the roles given like actors to a stage, and yet inside, their heart of hearts yearned for answers. When the dice were truly rolled, they showed great resilience, dedication to the cause, and a willingness to do what it takes to reach their goal...not only for themselves, but for the whole of the country! In the end, a MUST READ for certain, and a series start that leaves you gasping for more. I know it'll be on my watch list for coming installments. Only complaint...a quick cutoff when events occur that drastically change plans and alter the story. We had built so eloquently to that point it seemed a shame to cut it short...it didn't diminish my delight overall, but I do wish it could have been built out as grandly as the rest. Perhaps we'll see more of that slow and steady pace in book two. **copy received for review

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