The Fox Inheritance

Caution:  Read The Adoration of Jenna Fox, the first book in Mary E. Pearson’s Jenna Fox Chronicles, before proceeding.  Also, if you read the first book nearly three years ago (like me), you might want to skim through it before opening The Fox Inheritance.

I first read The Adoration of Jenna Fox way back in 2008. I was still a high school librarian, and I can remember giving dozens of booktalks on this book to my students. I loved the book, and I was intrigued by its core subject matter–the thought of where science and medicine could take society in the future. I think some of my students were as well. We talked about things like cloning, preserving human consciousness after bodies have worn out, and government control of science and medicine. In short, The Adoration of Jenna Fox generated some fairly intense discussions. The sequel, The Fox Inheritance, is sure to follow in those footsteps. You see, Jenna Fox was not the only person whose mind was “saved” and put into a new and improved body. It just took a little longer–about 260 years–for her friends, Locke and Kara, to “wake up.”

Locke has been in limbo for 260 years.  260 years of total darkess, with nothing but his thoughts.  Thoughts of the night he and his friends, Jenna and Kara, were in a horrible accident.  Thoughts of his past and how he would do things differently.  Thoughts of the world that has surely forgotten him and continued to go on.  Thoughts that seem to connect with Kara, his friend who is just as trapped as he is.  They have no bodies, and their minds are imprisoned in a small box…until they are finally released. 

After a dark, horrifying 260 years of nothingness, Locke and Kara now have new and improved bodies.  They can finally feel, taste, hear (something other than the noise of their own thoughts), communicate, and live their lives.  But what life do they really have?  They are seemingly stuck in an altogether different type of prison.  Dr. Gatsbro, the man who “saved” Locke and Kara, is using them to further his own agenda.  The entire world has changed in the 260 years they missed.  Everyone they knew is gone…except for Jenna Fox.

Kara and Locke soon escape the clutches of the nefarious Dr. Gatsbro, and venture out into a world that is totally unfamiliar.  The country they were born into has split in two, robots perform many tasks once reserved for humans, and no one can be trusted.  Gatsbro and his goons are hot on their trail, and Locke and Kara are forced to seek help from unexpected sources.  Dangers lurk around every corner, but the two escapees have just one goal–get to Jenna Fox. 

Their reasons for reaching Jenna, however, are very different.  Locke wants answers to questions and wishes to be reunited with an old (and I mean really old), dear friend.  Kara, though, seeks her own brand of justice.  Why was Jenna saved so soon and not them?  What was so special about Jenna that she got to experience life for the past 260 years while they were left forgotten on a shelf?  Why didn’t she come back for them?  Why did she let them suffer for so long?  Well, Kara is determined that Jenna will suffer just as much as she and Locke did.

As Locke and Kara travel across the country, they once again face the past that has always haunted them.  When they come face to face with Jenna, will they let the past destroy their present, or will they rush headlong into a future filled with possibilities?  Read The Fox Inheritance by Mary E. Pearson to find out!

I’ve glossed over a lot of details in this post.  I didn’t even begin to touch on the science and technology featured in The Fox Inheritance–and even The Adoration of Jenna Fox–or how those “advances” seem all too possible in our world.  I’m a little paranoid, so it’s very easy for me to imagine that someone somewhere is working on being able to transfer a mind into a computer and then back into a fabricated body.  (I thought about Robocop, Blade Runner, and movies like that when I was reading this book.)  It’s very disturbing to think about.  What are the implications here?  Can–or should–society or governments do anything to stop science and technology from going as far as they can?  What will the role of bioethics be in the future?  Think about it.  I know I will.

If you’d like more information about author Mary Pearson, the Jenna Fox Chronicles, and other books, please visit http://www.marypearson.com/index.html.  According to her blog, we can look forward to a third and final book in the Jenna Fox Chronicles.  There’s no word yet on what the title is or when the book will be released.

The Adoration of Jenna Fox

Mary E. Pearson’s The Adoration of Jenna Fox is one weird book…but in a good way.  Jenna Fox is seventeen, but she doesn’t really know who she is.  She has been in a coma for a year, and she only knows what her parents have told her.  Her grandmother appears to despise her, Jenna has little to no contact with the world outside her family’s new house, and her only connection with the girl she used to be comes in the form of sixteen years’ worth of home movies.

Gradually, though, Jenna begins to reclaim pieces of her memory and what led her to her current situation.  She knows she was in what should have been a fatal accident and that her parents broke nearly every scientific law known to man to ensure her survival.  What really happened to her?  Will anyone find out?  What or who is Jenna Fox, and why couldn’t her parents let her go?

This book paints a possible picture of what the world could look like in the not-too-distant future:  antibiotics becoming ineffective through overuse, pandemic diseases, fighting to preserve pure species of plants and animals, government control over what science can or cannot do, and basically regenerating humans who are on the verge of death.  It’s creepy to think about.

Although I did like this book, the ending was a little too neat for me.  I would have liked to see more conflict.  Also, there is an underlying political message in the book that could turn some readers off.  But I guess that’s just one more way to start some discussions.  I would recommend this book for readers interested in science and where it could or should take us in the future.