Ivon

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 05 Dec 2018

Member Reviews

This is a dystopian future in which a plague has nearly killed off the human race. Only those who were fit and athletic have survived. As a result, sport and fitness are compulsory with top sports personlaities living a life of elite privilege except that no one seems to care about the actual games anymore.
The constant surveillance and control gives an initial impression of this being a 1984 style dystopia but in fact, the characters’ attitudes and way of life are much more reminiscent of Brave New World.
The main character is Dusty a cricket star on the edge of retirement, a nice gentle guy beginning to have doubts about the society he lives in who takes a trip to the depths of Wales and discovers Ivon.
Despite being the titular character, Ivon left much less of an impression on me as a reader: strong, athletic but not too bright. A brilliant sportsman but rather naïve about how he would fit into the controlled society of the Perpetual Era.

I did question why the Commune were so eager to have Ivon and make him feel welcome when they had no intention of using his natural talents but then I remembered that the author is a sports writer and I wondered if this is his commentary on modern sport: that we take brilliant young sportspeople and crush their virtuosity under excessive rules and team strategy.

Also although I understand that the threat of the plague had created an obsession with fitness why did they still invest so much in the sports events?
Nobody, except the players, seemed really interested in the actual sports they just waited for the scores to be able to pump their pedals and create more energy.
And why was this even necessary? Couldn’t the commune just have forced/encouraged people to spend all their time creating energy?
Why was the production of energy so important and why did it have such a directly impact on the food available? Was food being created with energy rather than grown?

However these questions only occurred to me several days after I had finished reading so they didn’t hinder my enjoyment in following the developing enlightenment of Dusty.
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I received an ARC of this novel in exchange for an honest review. Thank you to NetGalley, RedDoor Publishing, and the author Michael Aylwin. 
This novel had a really interesting dystopian concept, and initially I was excited by it's potential, but unfortunately the story didn't have enough substance to make this a satisfactory read. 
Not one for me, I'm afraid. 2.5 stars.
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England and Wales in the mid-22nd century. The former a high-tech and health-obsessed energy-through-sport producing dystopia, the latter home of the expelled and exiled. Human beings like the one we used to be. Aylwin’s story of Ivon, son of exiles and a top athlete from Wales, who tries to succeed in England, is dynamic and haunting. An exciting read for sport (Rugby) aficionados and sci-fi lovers alike. Thank you, Net Galley, for having brought this book to my attention.
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A truly unique Adult Dystopian!

For fans of classics such as 1984 and Brave New World. Added bonus if you are a sports fan. Set in a future London, now called a commune, where society is regimented down to the most minute details, individualism is dead. People are created and raised for what they can contribute to the commune.

The highest attribute is your propensity for sport. The best at sport are the most valued members of society and there is quite a caste system based on this.

This story follows two men: Dusty Noble, the batsman of a generation and one of the most respected and valued men in London, and Ivon, a Welshman raised outside of the commune.

You see, in Wales, they live by the old ways. People have families, homes and still play sport for fun and under their own volition. Considered no more than savages by the people of Perpetual Era London.

Ivon is the son of two high profile people who were forced to leave London after it was discovered that they had feelings for one another. Relationships are not allowed and having too much interest in another is definitely a red flag to authorities.

Growing up in Wales however, Ivon knows nothing about that life. He has an incredible aptitude for sport however, which doesn't go unnoticed by Dusty when he takes a weekend holiday to Wales.

Ivon ends up heading back to London with Dusty and both of their lives are irreparably changed because of that. The repercussions of this one decision put both men on a path they never anticipated being on. In fact, the final portion of this book is depressing AF but so clever and well drawn out. I was really impressed with this. I thought the writing was excellent and the concept behind the world construction was original and well detailed.

One small thing to note for sensitive readers, there is quite a focus on sexual relations between individuals in London, coitus, which was strange and not my favorite part of the story. However, I do understand the point the author was try to make by including it and I think he achieved that, it just surprised me at first.

Overall, I thought this is a great piece of dystopian literature. Thank you so much to the publisher, RedDoor Publishing, for providing me with a copy to read and review. I'm sorry it took me so long to get to it as it was a fun read!
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I really enjoyed this. Found it original and it made me think.

Thank you to NetGalley and to the publisher for a  copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
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This was extremely interesting as a concept and I enjoyed getting to grips with sport as its depicted here, in a new London where efficiency and productivity through science and computing have overtaken any real joy of life. The scientific advances depicted sound realistic and frightening, and the reader roots for Ivon and Dusty for the entirety of the story. This is a very original idea and it was refreshing to live in a totally different world. I think you need some insight into sport (rugby in particular) to have full awareness of the reality of the changes implemented by the new society of the London commune- but otherwise, this one will grab and hold the attention, its weird originality challenging the reader throughout.
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I was really curious about this book as I love reading dystopian books and this seemed like something I’d like. The plot and the fact that it was based around sport intrigued me as I hadn’t heard of anything similar! It took me sometime to get into the book as it was quite confusing at points- I lost the plot at times and had to reread certain areas. However, once I got my head around it, Ivon was really interesting!

I found Dusty’s character super intriguing! The way he slowly changed and found out about what had happened to him in the past was really interesting. It was cool seeing the way he thought as he’d been influenced by the Perpetual Era! Ivon was also cool and his passion for sport was evident! Personally, I couldn’t connect to him and therefore feel indifferent about him.

The ending made me feel really sad because I kind of knew that it would happen but not entirely, I guess? It was really well written and was a strong ending for the book!

I gave this a 3.5 because it was really interesting and the comparisons of Wales in the Lapsed Era and the Perpetual Era were detailed! I don’t think I’d read it again though and it was confusing at points! Ivon is a Dystopian/ Sci-fi book with a focus on sport!
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Very interesting take on the future of sport and society in general.
Not the type of book I normally read but highly recommended.
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This book has one of the most brilliant dystopian ideas I have seen in a long time, let alone the metaphor behind it. The language flows well and characters are engaging, it took me a while to get completely hooked by the literary surroundings, so to say, but it was well worth it.

After reading this book, my head was buzzing for weeks with all sorts of crazy (and probably dystopian) ideas. Especially while looking at the current politics and media.

Michael Aylwin is certainly someone to look out for.

Thank you NetGalley for the copy of this book in exchange for my honest opinion.
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This is as much Dusty Noble's story as Ivon's.  Dusty seems to be the main protagonist; newly retired from elite sport, a cricketer, a batsman. He's interested in other sports, but you can only play one.  Specialism is the key to efficiency.  If you play well, and win, the  population of London will release more energy. That's how they power the city.  Well, that appears to be how it works.  It's certainly the case that everyone is expected to retire to the energy chambers with the partner of their appointment, to release as much energy as possible for it to be stored and used to run the place and produce the food they eat.  So, no energy stored, and you're on reduced rations.  It seems to be a joyless place, every model citizen wholly focused on being as efficient and productive as possible.

It all functions well enough.  Until Dusty, in the spirit of using up the travel credits he has accrued, takes a trip to the Other Side, through the border fences to Wales, where they do not subscribe to the modern era.  They are savages in fact, living in homes, many people in one home, visiting each other, drinking alcohol, playing rugby undirected by computer strategists, and even playing cricket and football too.  The same person playing more than one sport! Incredible!  And the shining star, with skill Dusty has never seen before, is Ivon.  Think what Ivon could do for London.  And Ivon wants to see what London could do for him....

Michael Aylward has produced a brilliantly logical world, totally internally consistent, with several humorous or snide situations depending on your view of the state of sport (and the nation).  Ivon is a little like the Stranger in a Strange Land, or Tommy for that matter, and most of the time I'm wondering whether it will all end happily or not.  There are a few lulls in the writing, and I got distracted for a time over the in-jokes about certain real cricketers now retired, but once over the middle part, I was swept on again to the conclusion.

It's funny, it's moving, it's jaw-droppingly horrible if you want a future with any real expression of personality and self-determination. But it's an excellent contribution to the possibilities of the future we seem to be bringing on ourselves. It might get a bit boring for people who don't like sport in any form, but you don't need to like rugby or cricket to enjoy the characters and the tale to the full.
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To be honest - this reminded me so much of Aldous Huxley's 'A Brave New World' that it was difficult to separate. Only... I'm not a sports fan at all, so while I could see the points being made, it didn't really resonate with me.
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This was an experiment, because I dislike sports about as much as I like dystopias, which is to say a lot. So the idea was that maybe one would balance the other out for something enjoyable. Should have done more research…the author is a sportswriter, so guess which side the novel heavily landed on. Basic premise is that in the mid 2100s the world’s survival of the fittest resulted quite literally in very fit men and women obsessed with sports and a super dynamic life measured in joules. In most of the word that is, like England, the novel’s primary setting. There are some places where nature reigns supreme, such as Wales. Ivon, the sportsman extraordinaire, albeit unenhanced, hails from Wales. And gets lured to England into the world of performance based world of conformity, while the man who lures him eventually discovers the joys of pure life in Wales. Simple enough, right? Yet somehow it warranted 320 pages, with tragically minimal world building and overwhelming attention to sports. Didn’t care for the writing, either, although the low to no level of engagement might have had something to do with…yes, all the sports. There is also a heavy handed moral here about the dangers of conformity and assimilation, but it just isn’t enough to make it worth the time. In fact that was 185 minutes completely and unrewardingly wasted. Maybe sports fan would appreciate it more. It certainly has enough good reviews. Just wasn’t for me. Thanks Netgalley.
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IVON by Michael Aylwin is a free NetGalley ebook that I read in late December.

An advanced, athletically enhanced version of England in the 2100's, there is a divide between the Perpetual and Lapsed societies where only the highest forms of hobbies and personal output is favored, and where Ivon, the forbidden son of two Perpetual athletes struggles to find his way past a life in primitive, Lapsed rugby to escape and play Perpetual rugby and cricket. It's sometimes a bit Douglas Adams zany, a bit severe and fatalistic, but a different perspective on sporty dystopia.
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Set in England, IVON by Michael Aylwin introduces the reader to a future world, called the Perpetual Era, where everything revolves around generating energy, with sports generating the most energy and therefore the entire society revolves around sports.  People are either groomed to play sports, coach sports, or otherwise support the sports and the athletes. When a Lapsed Era (in Wales, where people who refuse the Perpetual Era ideals live) an athlete is introduced to London's rugby team and more importantly to this highly organized and pre-planned society, he inspires change that is a blessing to some and blemish on London to others.
   Aylwin's book is a dark, satirical look at where our society could end up, where individuality is minimized and everyone's purpose is preordained.  By introducing a Perpetual Era man, Dusty Noble, to the Lapsed Era people and vice versa with Ivon, who ends up playing on London's rugby team, their are some humorous and frank realizations each person has about the other's society (alcohol, sex, and interpersonal relationships amongst others).  Aylwin uses those awakenings to consider which way is better or worse.  The plot is engaging, with Alywin describing in detail several rugby matches and as things start to unravel, the he builds the suspense to a unfortunate but inevitable conclusion.
   Fascinating in it's commentary as well as it's story, IVON had me thinking and re-analyzing parts of the book even after I finished reading it.
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Clever, original and thought provoking. Ivon is a skilled and exciting Welsh sportsman, playing for the fun of the game. Dusty Noble is a veteran cricketer from London, an inhabitant of the Perpetual Era, where all of life revolves around power generation and efficiency - no 'playing', no unnecessary social interaction. The two meet and never again will either see the world in the same way. An intriguing and excellent debut novel from Michael Aylwin.
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