Tuesday, February 25, 2020

Elin Peer - The Protector

400 years in the future, men are few and women rule the world.
Except for the area formerly known as Canada and Alaska, which is inhabited by the Men of the Northlands, a group of strong men, who refuse to be ruled by women.
Christina Sanders, an archeologist and professor in history, is fascinated with the past. As a modern woman of year 2437 she knows that women are better off without men, but longing for an adventure, she makes a spontaneous decision and volunteers for a job no one else wants. Now she’s going to lead an archeological excavation in the Northlands, the most secluded place on earth where the mythical males live who are rumored to be as brutal and dangerous as the men Christina has read about in her history books.
What will happen when Christina crosses into the men’s territory? Will they allow her to do her job and is there any way they’ll let her leave again – unharmed? 

Comment: I added this title to my TBR in 2018 because I saw it recommended somewhere. I was quite curious about a story set in the future where women would have evolved to become rulers of the world. Sadly for me, this story didn't get to be the sort of plot I was looking for.

In the future, long after WWIII destroyed the world as it was, the survivors now only live in certain protected areas and the population decreased from several billions to only 1.something and now women are the gender that rules. Society is matriarchal and the positive results are in sight in how much the world recovered from past mistakes driven by arrogant, greedy men.
The only exception is a group of men, called Nmen, who live in the region previously known as Canada and Alaska, around 10 million or so, who keep the older rules but because they are in less number, they cannot take over the other regions, now named Motherlands.
This is premise to the series where, apparently, women from this new society must go to the northlands of the Nmen for some reason and how they learn that, despite their clashing and their differences, men and women were made to be a team, such as evidenced by Christina, the protagonist, who goes there to study archeological artifacts and ends up falling for one of the Nmen charged with her protection...

How much of a catnip this idea could be for any woman wanting to read about how women are certainly better rulers than men? The idea is very appealing and I was so eager to see a well written story on such a theme, especially because I was not only expecting but quite anticipating too how the characters would portray the romance and the notion they would be better as a team instead of separated by their convictions.

The idea of this world is incredible and I can say some situations were very interesting. Many things about how the world evolved, how it dealt with disaster were a good version of a popular theme (post-apocalyptic scenarios) and I liked the little things the author included (how characters would be so concerned about rescuing extinct species and the corals with the use of obviously advanced technology, etc.,) and when the story begun I was even happy about how the women decided to create a sort of coalition to better create rules and ways of behavior to make everyone equal and in sync with the best way to protect the planet and live in harmony. Utopia, of course.

The problem for me, now that I have finished the book, is that the story doesn't read as serious to me. Some elements were well done but the interaction between characters and their personalities were so exaggerated to the point of caricature that I just couldn't help but sigh over this missed opportunity to create a wonderfully complex but fair world.
I can imagine some descriptions and some characterization were a little overdone so to better create a divide between what is and what can be when both men and women work as a team or together and how that makes them both better people. 

However, for instance, women in the new areas of Motherlands are often too naive, too trusting and for an advanced civilization in time, with so much conversation about old history and what happened to better avoid it, they are incredibly limited in their vision of the behavior of others. Yes, there is some control over certain things but I was hoping the main issue with a society of women would be how they could be rulers but while understanding men could positively contribute for society too. Sadly, they are portrayed as silly, lacking awareness of their surroundings... how could Christina, an educated women, a history teacher too not be aware of the relationships between men and women in the past? I don't think this was logical to how she was supposed to behave in the Nmen territory. I mean, I know why, so that she would be put in a disadvantaged situation but... how silly!

The men, like Boulder, are taught they should be rulers because they have the drive, the will to do things as necessary not as politeness indicates. They are aggressive, they mock Christina and other women, they treat them as they own them... again, I guess this is meant to better showcase the differences between them and how love is the answer, and so on but how frustrating! I'd have preferred them to keep for themselves because they didn't agree with the women society rules, fine, but when dealing with them to be more respectful, more understanding because, well  they need them too.

Basically, the ideas were there but it seems the purpose was to tell a funny, cute story with many exaggerated scenes and situations and where readers are led to believe the characters act like that because they like one another anyway, even despite the things separating them.
I didn't buy it. I think this story lacked seriousness, planning, balance and a  bit more solemnity in how characters are portrayed and how they behave. I wanted to be dazzled by how they had to fall in love despite their differences, in how they were in opposite fields, both in ideas and culture, but they could understand as a team they would be stronger and happier.

I suppose I wanted substance and got triviality. Oh well, I'll try the next one one day, if nothing else grabs my attention but no hopes in getting something more solid than this one.
Grade: 5/10

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