Book Review: Futuristic Violence and Fancy Suits



Get ready for a world in which anyone can have the powers of a god or the fame of a pop star, in which human achievement soars to new heights while its depravity plunges to the blackest depths. A world in which at least one cat smells like a seafood shop’s dumpster on a hot summer day.

This is the world in which Zoey Ashe finds herself, navigating a futuristic city in which one can find elements of the fantastic, nightmarish and ridiculous on any street corner. Her only trusted advisor is the aforementioned cat, but even in the future, cats cannot give advice. At least not any that you’d want to follow.

Will Zoey figure it all out in time? Or maybe the better question is, will you? After all, the future is coming sooner than you think.

Pros – …fast paced?

Cons – disturbed me greatly

Notes – I have a hard time grading this book. I’d give it 3 Stars, because it did keep my attention and it was engaging on a level, but the utter brutality and dis-likability of the entire cast is hard to get over.

Review – So by the end of the book this honestly made me uncomfortable more often than anything else.

Molech was…I didn’t like him. I didn’t like his way of doing things, I didn’t like his justification, I didn’t like his motivation. I didn’t like how he kept saying piggy to Zoey. Or the fact that Molech’s favorite threat was that he would let his men brutalize Zoey. It wasn’t his only threat, but its the one he went back to again and again. On top of all the physical violence he committed against her. I didn’t like that while what he was saying wasn’t without merit his reasoning was so flawed.

That said I wasn’t fond of much of the cast at large. Communication would have gone a long way and if Will was half the strategist he claimed he would have realized that quicker. It constantly felt like a game of 20 Questions and not in the good fun way. Will, and by extension the other Suits, kept their plans to themselves because they either thought Zoey wouldn’t understand the nuances and screw it up or would get upset about how they handled things. Well here’s a newsflash – after the first time that goes supremely badly, maybe change your diagnosis. Every time the plan went wrong, it was because Will did not tell Zoey “hey so here’s the play”. Zoey literally had no reason to trust him but he kept getting morally offended and righteously angry that she would be upset that he again said he’s hand her over to the bad guys’ if they would just give him time.

Will this wasn’t a game of “Cry Wolf”, words have meanings especially if you don’t have any history to back up the fact that you’re trust-able.

And Zoey? She felt inconsistent. One minute she acts tough as a guy describes to his Blink followers how he will mutilate her body and the next she’s freaking out because she can’t handle a different guy threatening her.

Some of what Wong posits in this near-future tale (I don’t remember an exact year given but it’s after 2023, since there’s a luxury car mentioned minted from that year) tracks well, but there’s also a lot that does not. Or I’d like to believe would not. Especially about social media (something y’all know I am fond of). BLINK as a concept isn’t so far-fetched when you consider Google Glasses or the augmented reality tech that’s being developed and shown off for our smart phones.

The actual use of it though…its highly disturbing. It takes lack of personal space and privacy to a whole new level. Since Tabula Ra$a* is meant to be the absolute shittiest place, but also the most Tech Evolved I don’t think its a fair template to gauge just how wide spread the use (or misuse) is nation, if not world, wide. I would have liked a little more information in that regard. Zoey, being from a trailer park and barely having a cell phone, isn’t a decent gauge of the average citizen either. The book is all extremes one way or the other, with the ordinary citizens being regulated to either cannon fodder or nameless BLINK users.

In the end I am glad I listened to it, but feel way too disturbed to want to dwell on it. Christy Carlson Romano, the narrator, was as always a joy to listen to and she did a very good job differentiating the characters through cadence and tone (there’s a good two dozen with regular speaking lines throughout and I could tell them all apart without needing help). I just…this book is disturbing as an entity in itself and as a possibility for our future.

(*)no that’s not a mistake, that’s how the city was literally named by a bunch of no-good billionaires

Want to Know More?

Published by: Thomas Dunne Books
Release: October 6, 2015
Series: N/A
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Lexie Words

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