The List by Patricia Forde

A Thought-provoking, Dystopian World

The List is a fascinating dystopian tale of a post-apocalyptic society in which language is limited to only 500 words. And falling. The leaders of Ark–a relatively save haven in the midst of chaos and wilderness–believe words are to blame for the cataclysmic Melting. Scientists and journalists used words to hide the impending global disasters behind pretty lies and false promises until it was too late.

Now, only the aging wordsmith and his young apprentice, Letta, are allowed to use words that are not on the List–collecting and protecting them until the day that humanity might once again deserve the full range of language and expression. When the wordsmith fails to return from a word collecting mission, Letta must take his place, only to discover that the promises of Ark itself are beginning to unravel.


I loved the world that Patricia Forde has created. The premise of the novel is fascinating and all too believable, and the plot moves along at a steady clip. The List-based dialog is intriguing, giving the reader a true sense of immersion in the story, and I would have liked to see more of it. I enjoyed that bit immensely!

I also would have enjoyed getting to know Letta better. The story is definitely action-driven rather than character-driven. Letta did a lot of things, and there are plenty of readers who will love that about the book. But I walked away feeling like I didn’t have a solid handle on who she was–on the quirks of her personality that make her unique. (To be fair, the reader does get a lot of her thoughts, but they often felt disconnected to the point that I wasn’t sure what her motivations were.)

That said, both the world and the story held my attention to the end. I’d definitely recommend at least checking out a sample. If you enjoy the author’s style, you’ll love the read.

– Erin’s Pick

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