Friday, November 18, 2011

Mandy Reviews: The Miracle Inspector by Helen Smith

ISBN #: 978-0956517050
Page Count: 249
Copyright: 2010
Publisher: Tyger Books

(Taken from Amazon)

A dystopian thriller set in the near future. England has been partitioned and London is an oppressive place where poetry has been forced underground, theaters and schools are shut, and women are not allowed to work outside the home. A young couple, Lucas and Angela, try to escape from London - with disastrous consequences.

Mandy's Review:


I'm drawn to the freakish looking ... person ... on the cover. It look androgynous enough to be a man or a woman and with the make up done poorly it is definitely an attention-grabber.

I still do not like the style of the lettering, though. I think it could've been done in a different style to better coincide with the freakish nature of the person on the cover.


Set in London - Time frame is in the future, but not so far in the future that robots have taken everything over. It is a time where books, poetry, theaters, anything that could start a revolution against the government has been shut down. The British government has deemed it necessary for all women to stay at home. The only time they are allowed to leave is to visit their relatives, which is also confirmed by the government.

Airports have closed, barring the means for travel. Road signs are no longer used and are referenced to as being something of the past. There are "walls" up separating London from the rest of England. All other cities have a Border Patrol and turnstile gates for people to enter through.

The Ministry has divided itself into various departments (i.e. Inspector of Cats, Inspector of Women's Travel, Inspector of Inventions & Gadgets, Inspector of Hedgerows & Grass Verges) so it can have its thumb on everything involving its citizens. It is this setting that provides the background for this novel. A novel in which people meet, in secret, underground to recite poetry. A novel in which women had to look like men if they wished to leave their house, especially at night. A novel in which a family relation's reputation has the power to grant you prestige or grant you being tossed to the bottom of the proverbial pile. A novel in which, if we're not careful, could become a prophetic voice of London's future.

Main Characters

Lucas - Employed as the Inspector of Miracles with the Ministry Department. Whenever he gets a call about a potential miracle, he visits the person to determine if a miracle actually occurred.

He's married to Angela. As a husband he is very unsure of what to say to his wife. There's a tension between the two of them that doesn't really go away.

Angela - Married to Lucas. Dreams of leaving London and starting a life somewhere else. Introverted, shy, sings beautifully, somewhat naive and simple.


Of the three Helen Smith novels that I've read, The Miracle Inspector is my favorite. The vibe I got while reading this book was reminiscent of Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury.

If you liked Fahrenheit 451, you would definitely enjoy this book.

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