When we meet young Octavian at the beginning of the novel we find he and his mother living a privileged life at the shadowy Novanglian College of Lucidity. He is dressed in silks, schooled in the classics, and is an accomplished violinist. What is unusual about this arrangement is that Octavian is African American and it is the eve of the American Revolution. What follows is a deeply disturbing exploration of cruelty, greed and hypocrisy - all perpetrated by so-called patriots. As a result I can't really claim to have 'enjoyed' this book. And, in truth, there are times when the horrors almost overtake the message. Further, Octavian - so deeply scarred by his upbringing and experiences - is a difficult narrator to completely embrace. I'd say [b:Chains|3002300|Chains (Seeds of America, #1)|Laurie Halse Anderson|http://d.gr-assets.com/books/1348415444s/3002300.jpg|3032794] explores this topic more successfully - particularly for the intended YA audience. In fact, because of its content and highly advanced vocabulary it's hard to imagine any but the *most* sophisticated of young readers approaching this and sticking with it. Still, I'm glad to have read this and I will likely read the sequel.