cover image The Fire Sermon

The Fire Sermon

Francesca Haig. Gallery, $26 (384p) ISBN 978-1-4767-6718-5

Best known for her poetry, Haig debuts as a novelist with this first installment of a post-apocalyptic, dystopian trilogy. Centuries after a devastating nuclear war, all children are born as twins: a physically perfect Alpha paired with a deformed or mutated Omega. The Alphas oppress and shun their opposites, but if either an Alpha or an Omega dies, their twin is psychically constrained to die as well. Cass, an Omega with vaguely defined psychic abilities, is imprisoned by her brother, who has risen to prominence among the Alphas. When she escapes, she rescues the amnesiac Kip and discovers a terrifying secret about the Alphas’ ultimate plan for dealing with the Omegas. Haig presents a scenario ripe with potential, but the harsh divide between the Alphas and Omegas is hard to believe in, given their inherent dependence on one another. Cass’s powers work conveniently as the plot demands, and the twists still carry an air of familiarity. Haig’s prose is almost wistfully descriptive, elevating the otherwise tired story. Agent: Sasha Raskin, Agency Group. (Mar.)