National Book Award, Young People's Literature, 2002
Matt is a clone of El Patrón, a powerful drug lord of the land of Opium, which is located between the United States and Mexico. For six years, he has lived in a tiny cottage in the poppy fields with Celia, a kind and deeply religious servant woman who is charged with his care and safety. He knows little about his existence until he is discovered by a group of children playing in the fields and wonders why he isn't like them. Though Matt has been spared the fate of most clones, who have their intelligence destroyed at birth, the evil inhabitants of El Patrón's empire consider him a "beast" and an "eejit".
When El Patrón dies at the age of 146, 14-year-old Matt escapes Opium with the help of Celia and Tam Lin, his devoted bodyguard who wants to right his own wrongs. After a near misadventure in his escape, Matt makes his way back home and begins to rid the country of its evils.
©2004 Nancy Farmer (P)2008 Simon and Schuster
Go forward in time, a century or two, to a drug corridor that divides the US from Mexico, a center of narcotics production that supplies the world with narcotics. The most powerful of the drug lords is determined never to die so he relies on clones, fully conscious ones, to be there for him when the time comes. And the latest clone should ultimately end up like all the others, but this boy acquires, almost by accident, something the others never had, the love of the domestics charged with keeping him fed and unhurt.
This is a marvelous work, read brilliantly by Raul Esparza (his reading of Under the Dome is also a must-listen). Farmer has thought through every detail of this story, and wisely leavened what would would be a despairing and mournful vision of the future with the undying fact of human love and inter-dependence. My teen got me to read this and it's the best thing she's done for me all year.
This book was pretty good. The only drawback was that the locations all seemed to have similar names. This made it harder to follow the story sometimes.
I was definitely not expecting to enjoy this book. The description was all about drug lords and clones and such, totally not my cup of tea. I was pleasantly surprised! This is a strange but interesting book about a boy coming of age. He is shunned by most of the people around him and treated like an animal because he is the clone of a very affluent and influential man (who just happens to be a drug lord). You'll be entranced once you start reading this futuristic book.
I am a forty-something science teacher who listened to this book on advice of some of my students. Enjoyed the plot, and enjoyed even more seeing what my brighter students are reading and how it relates to science. Many of the ideas have been said before, but not directly to this generation in this way. The story is a great distraction from everyday life, though the ending is fairly abrupt and too 'pat' for the intense plot that precedes it.
This is a superb young adult novel that is a fun read for adult adults too. The narrator is wonderful, not surprising I guess since he is a Tony Award nominee. I was fully absorbed in this novel from the beginning. The dystopian world is fresh, and as the plot unfolds, new dimensions reveal themselves. I highly recommend this book!
The scene where the boys were thrown into the bone pit was so well described that I felt I was there with them. I was holding my breath during the entire scene.
I couldn't put the book down. Unlike most books, there was no way of knowing where the story was going next. From the very beginning, the reader is being pulled along wondering what is going on and where is it leading.
Nancy Farmer has an incredible imagination, and I look forward to reading more of her books.
I've read this book multiple times and listened to it many times also. It is a very good read and also enjoyable to listen. I would suggest this book to everyone; it has a great story and is very interesting.
My students loved listening to this audiobook as they followed along. Narrator does an excellent job or reading with prosody.
It's hard to describe just how good this book is. The reader was phenomenal -- his pronunciation of the Spanish words was pitch perfect for me, his narration was smooth and mellifluous, each of the characters had a distinctive and appropriate voice to their dialogue.
The story was truly amazing, a rich blend of comedy, horror, science fiction, and authentic human drama and conflict. The narrator really makes you fall in love with the characters, from the ambitious and lonely Matt to the darkly enigmatic Tam Lin to the adorable and heroic Maria and even the majestic, sinister El Patron. The plot itself is unpredictable, a roller coaster ride that doesn't let up.
The science fiction elements were interesting; you don't really see drug lords and mind-control slaves, human cloning, and telenovela style pathos going together.
About the only thing that I didn't like was the ending, and only because it meant that I had to buy the next in the series.
"Gripped, Amazing! loved it! "
I loved the reader, I loved Matt! I love the story line!
Not to slow not to fast, easy to understand, interesting, keeps you gripped!
I thought it was very good, really thought I knew the characters better through the performance. clear and well read.
a bit of both, ooooh you don't know if you should trust the old guy then BAM! It's so good!
Loved this story, good development, amazing characters, I want to read the 2nd one. over all amazing book!!
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