Mayfly by Jeff Sweat is a science fiction dystopia published by Feiwel & Friends on May 8th, 2018.
Mayfly has almost all the components that a good science fiction, dytopian needs. Right from the completely wrecked, no-hope-can-be-seen world to curious protagonists who want to find a solution, and an excellent writing, research, and plotting accompanying it, Mayfly impressed me.
Let’s start with what I admired the most–the immense world building. The dystopian cliche was torn away in this book when the future world didn’t consist of just one set of survivors; the world has survivors belonging to different areas or groups who stay away from one another’s boundaries in order to save themselves from any unwanted violence. You’ll find a particular group of people who believe in things that the other groups won’t. Basically, there are cultures and traditions incorporated into this dystopian world and the best surprise is: all these are inspired from this present world.For instance, the characters believe that there was once a time when men and women (known as the Parents in this book) dressed up “to meet with the gods, on the red carpets as long as the entire streets.” And the kids reached this conclusion from magazines they found in this destructed world.
Speaking of the destruction, the story is set in Los Angeles with vivid references to Hollywood and other landmarks. This gave a more realistic approach to this story. The main conflict of the story is the unknown reason why everyone dies at the age of seventeen, if not before. Due to this life limit, there are some rules that the Olders (the older kids) have set, like a girl needs to be a Mama at fifteen, “roll with a guy” for the same purpose, and supervise the society they’ve set up in all these years after the destruction.
Here, women are in-charge and men are not given all the rights–they’re primarily for producing babies and using strength to fight against other tribes (a reason why they’re also called Muscle). It’s like a completely opposite take on today’s world but an unfair world nonetheless. Not only this, the language spoken by the characters isn’t the most perfect and it’s a great take on what a dystopian struggle would be ; plus, those who can read are considered bruja or witches. Overall, the world built is stunning with the details, both new and old, that are incorporated into the dystopian Los Angeles.
The characters are really well created and developed. Jemma and Apple are curious about this world but smart too. Their romance is a swiftly constructed matter and I would agree I found myself attached to them both. The side characters are just as much precious and it would be fun if you found them out yourself because they all give something to the bigger picture.
The thrill in this ride is epic! The pacing, plot, and revelations are woven into a mixture of exhilaration. Something’s at stake every minute and the readers are hooked to the book because what’s going to happen next? The only thing that slightly affected me was the scientific explanations or the lack of them. When the ending was explained, it left a lot of vague ideas and while that excited me for the sequel, it also deflated me a little for I need closures sometimes.
Overall, it’s a read I definitely recommend if you’re a lover of young adult dystopias and a world building that would pull you right through.
Trigger Warnings: sexual assault, rape scene, infectious death, bullet shot, graphic violence, inequality, misogyny, misandry.
I received a digital copy of this via Netgalley but that in no way influences my rating and/or opinions about it. Thank you so much Jeff Sweat and Feiwel & Friends!