Burrowed, by Maressa Mortimer – fresh out this month (April 2022)
BUY HERE on https://vicarioushome.com/ or on Amazon
This must be the first time I have read an entire book in five sittings!
This gripping adventure is billed for teens and older, but as an adult I was gripped by the plot, full of intrigue, mystery and a weaving of relationships and challenges.
Set in the fictional island community of Ximiu, our heroine, Jasira, the daughter of the Governor and a budding detective, discovers a plot to undermine the island’s way of life.
Maressa Mortimer has created a world that has challenged the status quo and put women in power. Her matriarchal world has risen to the challenge of making sacrifices to create a sustainable way of life and future.
The author cleverly approaches some very topical political themes and issues: sustainability, radical green solutions, gender/power inequalities and stereotypes, democracy, exploitation, propaganda, science, genetics and over-population. Her characters grapple with the complexities of change and the practical considerations of forcefully implementing any system.
The relationships between the characters are a forum to explore issues of trust, compromise, team-work and courage, as they learn to face their own strengths and weaknesses to overcome forces larger than themselves.
I take responsibility for the thoughts that came up in myself, but I found myself making many parallels and comparisons with political issues and the contemporary world’s approach to the environmental and climate crisis.
For me, the book reminded me of many themes that disturb me about a move towards a more authoritarian political climate.
I was reflecting on human-trafficking and the exploitation of weaker communities and our pilfering of resources to serve the richest.
I considered the gender inequalities throughout the world and how male and female can have such complimentary qualities, that working together can create a harmonious world.
I saw parallels in media propaganda and the blind acceptance of rhetoric (despite the evidence and their secret resentment) and how the ‘sheeple’ often police the authoritarian agendas, believing that it is ‘all for our own good and for our future’.
I found myself considering possibilities and ways to address climate change that maybe did not involve such drastic measures and sacrifices; that perhaps need not let the ‘baby out with the bathwater’.
I saw a world where we inadvertently let ‘science’ dictate policy and let ‘green sustainability’ become the new religion, with a focus on animals and the environment at the expense of human life.
Burrowed also brings the reader on a journey of growth through choices, courage, risk, sacrifice, justice, loss, disappointment and faith.
Emotionally, I worked through the grief and anger that God does not always say Yes in answer to our prayers. Sometimes God seems far away and when we have to deal with grief, pain and injustice, it can feel like God is either unjust or uncaring. Jasira has to process her own response to disappointment and grief, but I was left with hope in the goodness of God and that, though life can sometimes be hard and grieving is dry and grey, that surely ‘this too shall pass’ and we can re-learn to trust, to love and to hope again.
Maressa reminds us that we are allowed to see the splashes of colour in the grey winter, if we refuse to pull up the pretty flowers that appear in the cracks.