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Ryan Peters is an exceptional man. In a world where women live four times as long as men, Ryan is one of a handful of men with a similar lifespan. This difference in life expectancy has had profound consequences on men's fortunes. Relegated to the low-status, poorer paid jobs due to their inferior experience, men are becoming increasingly resentful over the Gender Divide. While keeping his longevity secret, Ryan is determined to do all in his power to reverse this state of affairs -- and determines to sacrifice everything to succeed...
Keeping his cast of characters small, with most of the action occurring within the confines of the Delphi Corporation, Boultbee creates a slightly claustrophobic atmosphere. This works very well as the plot unfolds in surprising directions -- and without doubt, this is the main strength of the book. Boultbee's occasionally clunky dialogue becomes almost a matter of indifference, as he whisks the narrative off down yet another unexpected alley. These sudden changes in pace helped to keep this reader hooked, staying up till 2 am to find out what happened.
I also enjoyed the interaction between the one man and three women, effectively mirroring the issues being enacted in the wider community, although we only see snatches of that world as the novel reaches its climax. There are the enlightened women, who attempt to treat men fairly -- and those who crudely take advantage of a man's weaker position within the workforce to exploit them. This also provides a sharp contemporary commentary on what still happens to women within certain industries -- despite years of equal rights' legislation.
Although the love story starts off as central to the narrative, as world-changing events overtake the protagonists in plot and counter-plot, it somewhat fades into the background. I do wonder if the growing audience for romantic sci-fi might feel a little short-changed as the wider issues overtake this aspect of his story. However, for me, Boultbee has scarcely scratched the surface on the continuing social ramifications he has set in motion. I am really hoping that he will continue to write about this arresting take on sexual politics and its impact on his world, and I shall be looking out for his next novel.
Click here to buy The Gender Divide, by David Boultbee on Amazon
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|Comments on The Gender Divide, by David Boultbee|
|Posted by S.J. Higbee on 3/25/2009|
|Since I wrote this review, David Boultbee has changed both his publisher and book cover. So please disregard my comments about the misleading cover - they are now no longer appropriate!|