“The White Mountains” by John Christopher

Hmm yet another weird-looking cover.  My wife thinks I read strange books.

I put this on my “to-read” list a while back when I was researching YA books.  This one has great Amazon reviews, but I can’t say I liked it a whole lot.  Probably would have really liked it when I was 9 or 10; now it seems a little simplistic.

It takes place in the future, but humanity has reverted to a medieval existence via an alien invasion and mind control via “capping.”  Kind of interesting to see the boys’ descriptions of the decaying remnants of past technological glory like cars, trains, subway, guns, hand grenades.  Also fun to figure out the geography, which is never explicitly stated – we start in England, cross the Channel, wander through post-apocalypse Paris, end up at the White Mountains — the Alps of Switzerland, free man’s last redoubt.

The idea of capping – surgically induced mind control to keep the people subjugated – reminded me of the similar premise in The Uglies.  In that book, the operation made you beautiful as well.  In The White Mountains, the metal-mesh cap is a symbol of adulthood and just about equally longed for by most of the children.

The ending leaves many questions unanswered; this is most definitely the start of a trilogy.  Like, what’s the whole White Mountain resistance plan?  I cheated and read the synopsis of the series on wikipedia.  Mildly interesting; but I think I’ll skip the other books.  Or maybe send them back to my 9-year-old self if they ever get time travel worked out.

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