Total Control in The Warehouse | SPOILER-FREE REVIEW

The Warehouse by Rob Hart

5 Star Rating System 3 stars

Genre: Young Adult, Sci-Fi, Dystopian
Author: Rob Hart
Published: August 2019
Publisher: Bantam Press
Pages: 368 {paperback}

Review on Goodreads

Big thank you to Penguin for sending me a copy of this in exchange for an honest review!

Initial Thoughts Upon Finishing

This was an intriguing and stressful read. Imagining a company that controlled so much of the world and forced its employees into an incredibly submissive life is terrifying. I thought the characters were really great in this but the ending wasn’t quite the crescendo I thought it would be.


The Warehouse

Honestly, I had to take a small break between reading this book and reviewing this book: I am TRAUMATISED. But probably in an unexpected way. This book was nearly everything I hoped for and more but also didn’t blow my socks off, which I was sad about.

It’s set in a world where the world is kaput and resources are just not happening. Mostly in the America, however. The rest of the world seems to be doing O.K. The Cloud is a company who has a very successful business strategy and has bought out most of everything (farms, roads, companies) in America. This means they have a monopoly and whilst they have made consumerism AMAZING, jobs are rare and small businesses are a gleaming glimmer of the past.

This book was basically the memoir of someone who’s worked at Disney World, I swear. (Side note for those of you who haven’t been following me for what . . . over two years? Was it THAT long ago?! – I used to world at Disney). The big company feel and lack of individuality/care for the small people from the big boss was terrifyingly relatable. Hence: traumatised. ANYWAY.

The two characters in this book find themselves working for The Cloud for very different reasons. Paxton is a failed businessman (because of The Cloud) and an ex-jailer. Okay, prison guard (jailer sounded more exciting). Whereas Zinnia, is a spy.

Paxton has turned to work at The Cloud because being an employee there, whilst hard work (literally working in a warehouse), it means you get accommodation, a job and therefore money. He hasn’t got a lot of other choices because there simply is no work outside of The Cloud, more or less.

Zinnia has a mission. She gets herself employed at The Cloud with the intent of uncovering some of its secrets. For example, how does it run on the power it supposedly self-generates? They simply wouldn’t be able to generate the amount of power that they need to run the warehouse. She’s being paid big bucks to infiltrate an un-infiltratable company (no, that is not a word).


What I Liked

I loved the scary believability of this whole set-up. A company giving you no choice but to become devoted to them and knowing that as long as it does everything with a happy façade, it can get away with treating it’s employees however it wants.

Everyone’s accommodation is tiny, their jobs are insane, their downtime is non-existent, their incomes are small, their ability to complain about unfair treatment is manipulated: they are brainwashed into wanting to LOVE the company and to DO WELL for the company because they’re rated on a star system – get knocked down to one star? Well, you’re out.

And if you get fired? You can’t work for The Cloud ever again. . . . .or any of the companies it owns. HELLO POVERTY. This is serious shit. Paxton was a beautifully naive (sort of) character who was willing to try hard to impress to keep a good rating and be given good jobs. He doesn’t want to have to suck up to the company, but he knows that there simply is no other way.

Zinnia, however, was great fun. Only there to wreak havoc, she pooh-poohs the company from the get-go and gives us a level, critical assessment of how bullshit the whole thing really is. Her spying and plotting added much-needed spice and variety to something that otherwise could have been a very bland read. I also loved how she stood up for herself and for others.

I also enjoyed the way that Hart uses chapters to give the impression of time passing. With boring, repetitive days being a mere paragraph, and so on.


What I Didn’t Like

I think by the time I got halfway through this book I realised this wasn’t going to be everything I wanted it to be. The plot was moving too slowly and clearly struggling to build up to a good finish. We have teasing chapters from the CEO’s perspective (who is dying) that hints at some great finale to come: but it just sort of never really came.

I liked – but only ‘liked’ – the twist at the end but was mostly unimpressed by how the story tied out. I guess I had been hoping that tensions and action would build and build and build before exploding into one great SCENE – Jurassic park-worthy levels of drama – but alas, this book ends in a fizzle. All the time I had invested in learning to hate the company and the system and learning to love the characters, felt like it was for nothing. I can’t deny I enjoyed reading the book, but I’d be hesitant to recommend this with any great enthusiasm.


Summary

I was disappointed by this, but not devastatingly so. I loved the concept, I loved how real this could be. I thought the characters were great and the extent that Zinnia would go to use others to get where she needed to go was beautifully callous. But it was a fizzler. I didn’t want or need an attempt at a philosophical ending that lacked oomf – I wanted a big ass brawl and something exciting to happen. And it didn’t. *Huff*.


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Happy reading!

~~ Kirstie ~~

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