“The Quiet Limit” by Trista Lundquist

“The Quiet Limit” by Trista Lundquist 683 1024 Reader Views Kids

The Quiet Limit

Trista Lundquist
FriesenPress (2023)
ISBN: 978-1039179752
Reviewed by Tammy Ruggles for Reader Views (10/2023)

“The Quiet Limit” by Trista Lundquist is a compelling, intelligent YA dystopian read so absorbing it will stay with you long after the final page. Here we have the main character Lai, who knows something most of us don’t: The year she will die. She has grappled with this reality, this death sentence. Now she has learned to accept the inevitability. The question now is no longer when. She knew she would die at age eighteen. The question now is how. In the society she lives in, the value of your life is based on how long you will live. This means she is of little value to her community. After she turns eighteen, she knows the clock is ticking down, and she turns inward in resignation. Her highly regulated environment holds a secret, and now she wants to uncover it. This spurs Lai toward a near-impossible quest for the truth.

Lundquist has masterfully crafted a novel that transcends spec fiction, dystopia, or utopia. It speaks to all of us, each of us, and gives us a microscope with which to examine our own ideas, values, and beliefs about life, death, and meaning. In this way it is philosophical, but the author’s skill and talent keep it in the lane of entertaining fiction.

The character Lai is someone you can identify with. You are on her side as she struggles through her psychological and real-world challenges. Speaking of worlds, the author builds a world that is striking and, in some ways, familiar with its machinations, secrets, and revelations. Lai is in the most pivotal moments of her life, and she knows time is short. What will she do with that time?

I love the psychological aspect of the story. And even though the novel is driven by the pall of death, it shines as life-affirming. I also like how the author explores the life of this character from a first-person point of view as she grows, and how she handles the day-to-day weight of this countdown. Her friend Evera is an interesting character, and Lai has a brother whose lifespan is longer than hers.

Threads of censorship, conformity, and complacency run through the narrative. Lai is a heroic character, with admirable attributes, making her charismatic and compelling. If you are looking for an evocative, fulfilling dystopian story that is driven by character, “The Quiet Limit,” by Trista Lundquist, should be at the top of your reading list.

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