Sunday, December 20, 2009

Book Review: "Compound" by S.A. Bodeen


Eli and his family have lived in the underground compound for six years.  The world they know is gone, and they've become accustomed to their new life.  Accustomed, but not happy.  For Eli, no amount of luxury can stifle the dull routine of living in the same place, with only his two sisters, only his father and mother, doing the same thing day after day after day.  As problems with their carefully planned existence threaten to destroy their sanctuary - and their sanity - Eli can't help but wonder if he'd rather take his chances outside.  Eli's father built the compound to keep them safe. But are they safe - or sorry?

My Review:

Ah, a very interesting story....  I randomly picked this one up one day while just browsing in Barnes and Noble.  No recommendation, never heard of it, just spotted it on a shelf during a walk by and decided to pick it up.  The intro (above) was enough to get me to shell out the $8.99 (minus my B & N preferred discount of course) to take a chance on this one.  Well, it's been sitting on the shelf for a while and yesterday when our first winter blizzard of the year started, I decided to take it down and see what it is all about.  A very quick read, it only took me a few hours.  And it was a really good book too!

Eli's father is a billionaire, one who knows he has power.  A guy who realizes people will do what he says just because of who he is.  When Eli was a young boy, he, his brother Eddy, and 2 sisters - Lexie and Terese always had whatever they wanted.  Anything.  They had houses all over the world, every gadget you could imagine - sometimes before it hit the public market, and their every desire and wish met, as dad was a billionaire that was world renown and very liked by people.  Liked or feared so much that it appeared he was liked?

Anyway, when Eli was 9, the day had come.  The day when the ground shook, their RV blew up and Eli, Lexie, Terese, and his Mom and Dad had been fortunate enough to make it to the "Compound," leaving behind Eddy (Eli's twin) and Gram to perish as they were not there when the hatch needed to be sealed.  The Compound was a gigantic shelter that dad had built for the when the day came.  The day of a nuclear attack.  The compound was built to protect his beloved family.  It had everything that one could possibly want and need  if they had to be trapped there for 15 years!  That's right, once the silver door shut, it was to remain closed for the next 15 years, to ensure that when they re-surfaced, there was no residuals left of the nuclear attack.

The compound had sleeping quarters, living quarters, a movie theater, full out gym, storage center as big as a warehouse with food, clothing, and everything else that was supposed to last them the full 15 years and more.  Basically anything else you can think of was in the Compound as well.  There were 2 rooms that were different- dad's office, which nobody was allowed in (and what lied beyond the door in the back of dad's office), and the "yellow" room, which for now we will not discuss.  Nobody thought it was strange that they weren't allowed in dad's office as it was the same rule above ground- nobody bothered the billionaire while he worked.  After all, he always did what was best for his family, and there would be no reason to disturb him while he did that. 

The first 6 years in the Compound were routine.  Everyone did their own thing and basically tried to live the best life they could considering they were well below the earth's now ruined surface.  There was no connection to anything on the outside world, assuming there was nothing out there left anyway.  One day, that all changed and sparked the action in the rest of the book.  Eli had found a laptop that was in his "brother's" room, which went unnoticed since Eddy had never made it down to the Compound in time.  This laptop was different than Eli's.  Although internet access was not available anyway, Eli's computer didn't even have the icon for it on it.  Eddy's did.  Eli had been waiting down by dad's office one day needing help with some homework when he decided to click on the internet icon on Eddy's computer.  He couldn't believe his eyes when "internet access approved" flashed on his screen.  He quickly tried to see what he could find, but then dad came out to help Eli and he had to shut it down.  Fastforwarding a bit, Eli had approached his dad about the internet that he thought was non existent to be told that he recently had made contact with some "other survivors" of very wealthy families that had also set up shelters like their Compound.  This seemed sensible until one day, Eli believed he had made contact with someone, someone he least expected to.... Eddy.

From this point on in the book,  Eli had started to unravel other things that made him wonder about everything.  Wonder about being in the Compound.  Wonder why they were there, who else had survived the nuclear attack if there even was one.  There is a MAJOR part of the book that I am going to intentionally going to leave out.  It's about what lies in the "yellow room."  I will tell you this, and trust me, it doesn't give much away-  there are other people living in the "yellow room."  Who they are, what their purpose is... that's what i'm not going to tell you.  However, what would you do to survive if you were locked in a compound for 15 years, and the possibility of your food supply runs out a few years pre maturely?  

This was a difficult book for me to review.  Reason being, I felt like there are things I have to tell you, but if I do, it will give too much away.  A tough one I tell ya.  So, I will reveal a bit more and leave the rest for you to ponder.  Eli does make contact with his twin, Eddy via the internet.  That should leave your imagination working overtime.  Some things I would be asking myself if I were you is... If Eddy is alive, what actually happened outside the compound?  Is it possible to get out of the Compound when the hatch is sealed on a timer for 15 years exactly?  What is dad's real motive for the compound?  Is it to protect his family or just an experiment for him to become even more wildly famous and rich?  WHAT or WHO IS IN THE "YELLOW ROOM" AND WHY???

I totally was into "Compound." It was finished in a matter of hours.  What I loved most was that besides being a page-turner, I was looking forward to what each of those pages held.  There were twists and turns around each corner.  The whole concept of the "Compound" seemed really cool and as the book went on, really frightening too.  It made me think a whole lot about what if there was a reason that we needed to have such places?  What if we already have them and do not know about them.... are they reserved for the wealthiest and most powerful people?  What about the average Joe- would we just perish in the wake of a nuclear attack?  Would a "Compound" be something that would really save us or something that would end up destroying us mentally?

A great read, I would recommend this one for an evening read.  Grab a hot tea or a hot chocolate, sit with a blanket on (the "Snuggie" if you have one) and just read it.  You will be done before you know it and you will be thinking about what you just read for a few days after you finish it.

 Glad I happen to glance over at the right time and spot this one!



  1. Not bad for something you just randomly picked up. Great review, very detailed as always.
    Elie (Ellz Readz)

  2. Wow! I've never heard of this book either, but from what you've described, it certainly sounds like a winner to me. ^_^ What a concept to think about... It's like the City of Ember, except instead of a whole city, it's just one family who lives underground. Man, I hope they don't get sick of each other, with all the time they spend with each other. =P

    It's cool, because I'm also a twin, so this should be doubly interesting for me. Thanks a lot for reviewing this book. I'm definitely going to be keeping my eye out for it.

  3. Sounds like an amazing book. Thanks for the review!

  4. sounds interesting and a good review for a book that you hadn't heard of before.

  5. Great Review. I've never heard of this book. Sometimes those are the best ones.

  6. I have this one on my goodreads tbr list, but just haven't finished my current stack to get to it :s

  7. Aw, I've had this one on my shelf for months. I've had so many reviews that I have put it on hold. Now I have to pull it off and put it on my desk as a reminder that I need to read faster. Can't read it until after the 26th as that is when I will be finished with the Cybils. Thanks Dave. Great review

  8. This sounds really interesting. It's awesome when you pick up a book on a whim and it turns out to be really good. I'll have to look for this one now.

  9. Hello... I'm new... Just wondering, what is this "Eli"'s last name? My name is Eli too, so just wondering.

  10. Last Olympian,

    Uh, I don't actually remember Eli's last name from the book. I would say that perhaps you could "google" it or even check out the book next time you are in the book store, but I just don't remember his "last" name off the top of my head. Sorry about that!


  11. Tihis was Honestly one of the best books i've ever made