Review: When She Woke by Hillary Jordan

Title: When She Woke
Author: Hillary Jordan
Rating: 5 Stars
Where to buy: Amazon | BN

From The Cover

When She Woke, tells the story of a stigmatized woman struggling to navigate an America of a not-too-distant future, where the line between church and state has been eradicated and convicted felons are no longer imprisoned and rehabilitated but chromed—their skin color is genetically altered to match the class of their crimes—and then released back into the population to survive as best they can. Hannah is a Red; her crime is murder.

In seeking a path to safety in an alien and hostile world, Hannah unknowingly embarks on a path of self-discovery that forces her to question the values she once held true and the righteousness of a country that politicizes faith.


If you put the words zealotry, racism, and hypocrisy into a book blurb, it would most likely scare people off. However, Ms. Jordan’s book is very much an exploration of all three. Some might even say the book is a modern day The Scarlet Letter.

Ms. Jordan does a masterful job of examining a society lost to its theological fanatics. The scariest, and likely most telling indication of Ms. Jordan’s skill, is how very plausible the world of When She Woke is. A few times, I even got goose bumps at the obvious parallels between the world of When She Woke and the path that the United States appearsto be walking.
Ms. Jordan also manages to thoroughly explore the concept of institutional racism very creatively by divorcing the reader just enough to be able to approach the topic dispassionately. All defensiveness flies out the window when it’s a question of red or yellow versus Caucasian and African-American.
Overall, Ms. Jordan puts forth a superbly written, compelling social treatise that could easily sit beside Robert Heinlein or George Orwell. Add in an engaging plot, thoroughly explored charters along with lyrical prose and this book deserves every single star it receives.

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