Omni by Andrea Murray
Release Date: November 1, 2013
Publisher: Smashwords; 236 pages
Pierce only wants a shot, a real shot, and not just the excuses he’s been handed his whole life. Harmony wants to escape her future, the future she fears will be chosen for her. After their chance meeting, they might get exactly what they want.
Since taking over the US government years earlier, the Omni party has created a perfect existence. From consorts to job assignments, every choice, every facet of life is under their control. Each citizen has a specific role in one of the four strata. Seventeen-year-old Pierce is a Drudge, the lowest social stratum in society. For over two years, he’s hoped—prayed—that his upcoming aptitude test will finally free him from his virtual slavery and give him a chance at a better existence. When he rescues Harmony, an Artist and member of the most successful stratum, at a publicity event for her latest movie, his life takes an unbelievable twist. With his gallant act and good looks, he becomes a media sensation. Every stratum in society seeks his membership for their publicity, but as he becomes closer to Harmony, Pierce realizes what fame in the all-seeing eye of Omni is truly like. His choices will not only affect him but Harmony as well. The life Pierce thought he wanted may not be worth the cost to either of them.
In this retelling of the classic story of Paris and Helen, love must struggle against an ultramodern, ultracontrolling society. They will risk everything, even challenging the all-seeing eye of the Omni government. But will the prize be worth the cost?
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Like many other dystopian books, the world has seemed to separate itself into separate groups but yet still one big group. There are 4 different stratums people are "placed" into, and thats where we meet Pierce, who unfortunately, is in the lowest stratum, he is a drudge. Basically a slave to everyone else. But Pierce doesn't let that get him down, too much. He's got a great roommate and best friend Hale, and soon he and Hale will be able to take their aptitude test to hopefully be able to move into a new stratum and make a change in their lives. Little does he know that at his next work event his life will change forever.
Once Pierce meets Artist Harmony, neither of their lives are the same, and I can totally feel the passion and love that Paris and Helen had in Pierce and Harmony. It is a whirl wind story about love, betrayal, lies, death and happiness. It is a book that hooks you from the get go and you cannot put it down. I am very excited for the next installment because the way this ended, THERE HAS TO BE MORE!!
Do you feel our government will ever become a society like Omni. Why or why not?
I do think our society is headed in the direction of the Omni society. We already value "artists" more than many other professions. We pay athletes outrageous amounts while regular citizens struggle to make ends meet. I work with children every day, and I see those that I know don't have enough to eat, wearing clothes that are sizes too small. How can a society with such poverty justify the outlandish money movie stars and professional athletes receive? I also think we preach equality, but does it truly exist? And while I dislike the idea of strata, we already have it; it's just not as marked as it is in the novel. Our social marks come from our professions but also from our location in the country. I am from the South, and I absolutely feel the prejudices people associate with that location. I love my home, and I wouldn't want to live anywhere else, but there are stereotypes that come along with that unfortunately. There are those who label us all as backwoods, hillbilly rednecks. That is, in itself, a stratum. However, it's not all gloom and doom. As long as there are divisions, there will be people like Pierce, people willing to break through the limitations and prove the world wrong.
Andrea Murray has been teaching English for longer than most of her students have been alive. She has taught everything from elementary reading groups to concurrent credit classes. She is currently teaching junior high language arts. She has a BSE and an MA in English. She lives in a very small town in Arkansas with her husband of nineteen years and their two children. In addition to teaching, she also blogs on Chick Lit Plus, writes young adult fiction, and recently completed her fourth novel, Omni, a YA dystopian based on the story of Paris and Helen. Andrea has also written The Vivid Trilogy, a YA paranormal romance. When she isn’t doing that, she’s probably reading or watching bad B movies.