book review,  dystopian,  science fiction

State of Refuge

Hi guys, today’s review is for State of Refuge, by author David Korson.
If you love Sci-Fi Dystopian tales, then this one might be for you.

After the final war, an oppressive global government dominates the planet, erasing our history, altering our language, and deciding what jobs we do, and where we go. There is no freedom!

{As a warning: there are some references to brutal sexual assault at times, though only near the start, when some prisoners in the State of Refuge attack some female prisoners, resulting in the women’s deaths.}





When seventeen-year-old Derek Vasuez is accused of murdering his own parents, his simple life with his peers and loving girlfriend is turned on its head. Now, he’s doomed to live the rest of his life in The State of Refuge with murderers, rapists, and all manner of criminals.



The story is set mainly in Kanadia (Canada, I’m guessing.) The new global government have changed many words and country names while imposing their ridiculous policies on the general population.

A Final War (likely World War 3) is often mentioned, having completely transformed modern ways of living. You can’t choose your job or where you live, and forget disagreeing with the government as it could lead to imprisonment, or worse, death.



Derek (the main protagonist) begins as a sensitive young man who gradually toughens up in order to survive his hellish new ordeals. He shows great strength, determination, and loyalty throughout the book, which led me to really admire him as a character.

Another character of note is Alex, a no-nonsense Puerto-Rican girl, who displays strong survival skills and a sharp wit. Her friendship with Derek is complex: I still wonder if there was more affection between them than initially intended.

The main villains are the Reposits, a sort of Communist-style guard, leeching personal freedom from everyday people. They proved to be a nasty bunch of individuals that I certainly wouldn’t want to encounter.

What Did I Like?

  • I liked how the author created a strong sense of the harsh environment Derek was thrust into. I imagined a great desert plain with lots of bloodshed and pain.

  • I liked that there were people willing to take Derek in within the State of Refuge, to train him to become a strong survivor.

  • Finally, I loved the unexpected twist at the end. I honestly never saw it coming.


A Favourite Quote

My favourite quote of the entire book had to be this:

‘We remember. You can’t forget freedom.’

This was one of the most powerful quotes of the whole book, showing just how much we as humans value our personal freedom. When it’s taken away from us, only then do we realize how crucial it is for us to be happy.


Overall Thoughts


I enjoyed every moment of this story, except for the brief assault mentions, though they did have their place, adding shock value where it would have the most impact.

This was a gritty story of camaraderie, sacrifice, and betrayal.

Would I recommend it? 
My Rating?  5 stars.

Visit the book’s goodreads page here

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