Bridge 108 (by Anne Charnock, ARC)

4 out of 5 Stars 

Cut to the Chase

Bridge 108 is a dystopian drama that expertly tells the story of teenaged refugee as seen through multiple perspectives. Bridge 108 had several things going for it: the plot was interesting, and there was a full cast of characters, which helped keep the story feeling lively. And there are also some interesting twists (some of which I wish had been better fleshed out). I was mostly captivated from start to end, though the beginning felt like it could have been slightly condensed while the ending felt a little rushed. Though I particularly enjoyed the different characters’ perspectives and the central issues of immigration and trafficking, there were times when the plot meandered. This is an interesting read, about a world which feels like a believable near future.

In Greater Detail:

Bridge 108 takes place in an Earth that is riddled with harsh weather and corruption — though it is technically an imagined version of the future, it does not feel particularly far-fetched.

Caleb, the main protagonist, is a refugee whose mother decides they ought to travel to Manchester, so that they will have better opportunities. We’re told that he and his mother, because they have such a questionable background and are lacking in experience, were only able to get work as potentially indentured servants. Before long, his mother wanders away, leaving Caleb to survive by himself. Traffickers then pick him up and use him for cheap labor — but that doesn’t stop him from living his life. He moves from place to place, and it is through his different experiences that we, the readers, are able to grasp the meaning of the characters’ intentions and reasonings. And because this story can be tied to many problems arising in today’s society, it sheds light on current events. 

Bridge 108 is an interesting story, and it was gratifying in a way to see Caleb developed while helping new people, The story was slightly slow, but then almost abruptly ended when he escapes from the enclave. Bridge 108 mostly follows Caleb but uses his and other characters’ interpretations of what is going on which gives the reader almost a universal truth to sections of the plot, though conveyed through different narratives with varying levels of understanding and emotion. There aren’t exactly unreliable narrators, but the different perspectives does gives you a lot to think about.

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