Because this has been labeled as being a Sophomore High School English text book, I was quite surprised at the high quality of symbolism that was featured in the first half of the book. A small gathering of people located in Labrador and survivors of a nuclear holocaust exhibited extremely high levels of racism and prejudice to anyone who was 'not in (their) image of God'. This separatism was not only accepted by the local religious group, but it was demanded of its populace as well! Anyone who did not reject the 'mutants' was severely punished. While 'The Chrysalids' was written in the mid '50s while racial prejudice was rampant in the US, the religious zealotry that we are experiencing today was not nearly as prevalent. In spite of that, Wyndham foretold of it and described it quite well.
The book quickly devolved from a quality allegory to an Indiana Jones sequel, however. We have the good guys being chased by the bad guys, being caught by worse guys but eventually saved by the very good guys! Even though the author attempts to explain this final sequence under the banner of 'evolution', he does so in an awkward and trite manner. Gone is the high quality symbolism and is replaced by a mistaken view of evolution that states that in order for improvement in a species to occur, the former population must be totally destroyed. If that were to be the case, there would remain only one species of insect, one species of birds, one species of fish, etc.... Because of this tenet, there can be no full evolution of a complete population into a variety of sub-species as we presently see all around us. As shown in the final sequence, there is no emotional distress that the 'advanced' population should experience while exterminating the 'lower' species! Being a student of Darwinism, I am not sure how the author developed this bizarre theme.
All in all, it rates three stars only because of the successful and creative manner in which it initially dealt with social issues.