The Crossing by Mandy Hager is the first installment in the Blood of the Lamb series. Hager’s novel is a dystopian young adult story set in a post-apocalyptic world controlled by Bible-toting caucasian survivors. The novel’s protagonist is both weak and powerful, but it is her imperfect nature that makes her a relatable character.
Maryam is a black teenager who is faced with the difficult task of blindly following her faith for the God she’s known since birth. But Maryam is different. Despite her frequent questions about her own actions, Maryam chases the unknown by countering everything she was taught as a child.
Maryam is often an unreliable character, since she was raised to obey anything asked of her. Her frequent indecisiveness suggests to the reader that Maryam is a naive teenager. But as she fights the restraints of the society around her, Maryam grows into an alert character, aware of the broken nature of her world.
The novel takes several twists as Maryam meets unexpected allies. These characters’ relentless need for the truth drives the plot forward, until the reader is faced with a conclusion that promises a greater adventure in the sequel.
The Crossing is a disturbing reminder of racism, the dangers of misplaced belief, and the abuse of power. But most importantly, Hager’s story is an example of how tenuous equality can be when humanity is threatened.
The power in The Crossing comes from the crippling idea that many of the characters would rather live in ignorance than do anything to stop the discrimination. This idea is powerful because it gives Maryam a purpose and a reason to strive for her freedom.
The pacing of the novel is quick. Hager does not waste time with meaningless descriptions, or unnecessary back stories. The reader learns only what is important and relevant to the story.
Readers who love dystopian fiction, yet are searching for a unique storyline, should take a chance with Hager’s novel. The imperfect protagonist, the low-key romance that sparks life into a dangerous story, and the urgency the characters carry, make Hager’s The Crossing an addicting and thought-provoking read.
Hager’s world is fraught with the errors of humanity’s past, present, and possible future, but with Maryam, the reader can hope that society will one day have a savior.