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Literature / The Sundered

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The world I know is flooded. The water's black. You don't go in the water. You don't touch it. If you do, it will get you, drag you down, and you're gone.
Harry Iskinder

The Sundered is a 2012 sci-fi dystopian novel by Ruthanne Reid.

The world is flooded, and the water eats people. The only way humans survive is by forming psychic bonds with the deranged mutants called "The Sundered Ones." But using the Sundered kills them, and the creatures are treated worse than slaves. Harry Iskinder is a boy with a legacy—his family builds maps and searches for "The Hope of Humanity," which supposedly can save the planet. When the story opens, he has spent years with his fellow Travelers as a run-of-the-mill scavenger, but everything changes when he finds and binds two Sundered Ones in one day, one of whom seems to be more than meets the eye. Much, much more.


The Sundered contains examples of the following tropes:

  • Batman Gambit: Aakesh really banked a lot on the Hope being activated in the proper way.
  • Beware the Nice Ones: Some of the humans who seem nice at first turn out to be quite the opposite. Likewise, the cute and helpless Sundered might not be.
  • Bishōnen Line: Aakesh is the most humanly attractive of the Sundered Ones. He's also implied to be the most powerful by a wide margin.
  • Cast From Hit Points: Any time a Sundered is forced to do anything, whether it's changing reality or sweeping the porch, it dies a little inside.
  • Did You Just Punch Out Cthulhu?: Harry wonders this several times after binding Aakesh.
  • Downer Ending: From a certain point of view. it turns out that humans were the real alien invaders, and the Hope of Humanity is their original spaceship. Activating it frrees all the Sundered, who then destroy humans and restore their world to what it was before the "alien" invasion. Humanity dies, but the original inhabitants of the planet are saved.
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  • Drugs Are Bad: Aakesh gives a few brief statements on why drugs are harmful even if they do not hurt you.
  • Eldritch Abomination: Motherwater is built up to be this, but really isn't.
  • Evil Mentor: Played with. Is Doctor Parnum evil and genocidal, or simply trying to prevent another extinction?
  • Expy: The black water seems more than a little similar to Dark Water from The Pirates of Dark Water.
  • Foreshadowing: "The water hates you."
  • Genocide Dilemma: The Sundered could be called "Genocide Dilemma: The Novel."
  • The Ghost: The empire of Bek is never really seen, but their attacks sure are!
  • Literal Genie: All Sundered Ones to an extent, but definitely first-tier Sundered.
  • Lost Technology: The only tech that still works!
  • Meaningful Name: Harry Iskinder is kinder to the Sundered Ones than anybody else is. Also, his name means "defending mankind."
  • Pinball Protagonist: Harry. Even though he makes a lot of decisions himself, he is really propelled forward throughout the plot.
  • Reality Warper: Most of the Sundered Ones, particularly higher-tier Sundered.
  • Red Herring: You'd think that the "testy" weapon would be a major part of the plot. You might be wrong.
  • Thanatos Gambit: Jason Iskinder seems to have set everything up really well for the Sundered's eventual freeing.
  • Tomato in the Mirror: Humans are the aliens.
  • True Companions: The Travelers are treated as such, even when a few leave for better business opportunities.
  • Wham Line: Two:
    "What would you do if I told you a tale of aliens?"
    "This was never earth."


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