The Hollow People: The Promises of Dr. Sigmundus by Brian Keaney

Dante is a ward of the asylum, which basically means he does whatever he is told. He cleans up the messes no one else wants to clean, he washes dishes, mops floors, brings prisoners their food...all because he had the misfortune of being born to an inmate who ended up taking her own life. He has been cursed to an existence of servitude and being grateful for the mistreatment he receives, for who else would take care of him?

Bea was born to privilege. Her father is a scientist on the island, and she is approaching her coming-of-age ceremony, where she will recite the Promises of Dr. Sigmundus. She, unlike the rest of her classmates, is not looking forward to receiving Ichor. She knows that once she does, all her originality will be gone. She will no longer care about being different, or feel anxious. Everyone tells her that after the ceremony, everything will be fine...but that isn't how she feels.

A chance meeting between these two gives them both new perspective. It seems that Dante is immune to Ichor. He understands her hesitation, and uncertainty. She shows him the picture of the place she sees in her dreams, and it's almost as if Dante has seen this place before. He doesn't scold her for having dreams like everyone else. Bea knows that she shouldn't talk to someone below her station, but finally, here is someone who understands. They decide to meet again.

A dangerous prisoner has been brought to Tamagar, the island dedicated to housing criminally insane patients like Dante's mother. Ezekiel Semiramis, however, doesn't seem to live up to all the rumors surrounding him. Dante is ordered to bring him his meal, and is shocked to hear that Ezekiel knew his mother...he even alleges that Dante's mother didn't commit suicide, but was murdered! But can he trust the words of a killer?

Events transpire that ends in Dante and Bea both being ostracized, and them having to trust Ezekiel. He has the power to stop time, it seems, and organizes their escape. As they make their way out of Tamagar, and leave their old lives behind them, what does their future hold?

The group travels to the ruined city, and learns that much of what was taught as truth is more like propaganda. Ichor was developed to diminish resistance, and only this small band of citizens, known as the Puca, is fighting to regain independence from Dr. Sigmundus.

This futuristic dystopia takes place in an alternate reality. Great for sci-fi/fantasy lovers, but may be more difficult for those who enjoy more realistic settings.
"In the distance, a stone tower loomed out of the mist like an enourmous finger pointing towards the sky. All around her, the once-magnificent architecture of the city was beginning to take shape, and Bea turned around slowly in a full circle to take it in. 'All this is mine,' she said out loud. Then she corrected herself. 'All this is ours.' But even as she spoke, she was aware that something was starting to go wrong. The silence of the ruined streets was suddenly shattered by a harsh, unidentifiable noise. She covered her ears with her hands, but it made no difference....Then, with a sudden, fierce jolt, she woke," (Keaney pg. 25-26, 2006).
*Library Link*

If you liked this, check out:

The Cracked Mirror: The Promises of Dr. Sigmundus (book 2) by Brian Keaney
The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
The Knife of Never Letting Go: Chaos Walking by Patrick Ness

Keaney, Brian. (2006). The Hollow People: The Promises of Dr. Sigmundus. New York, NY: Knopf.

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