Genre: Sci-Fi, Young Adult
Author: Ben Oliver
Published: April 2020
Publisher: Chicken House
Pages: 384 [paperback]
[ ᴛᴡ • ᴅᴇᴀᴛʜ • ɴᴇᴇᴅʟᴇꜱ • ᴅʀᴜɢꜱ • ᴠɪᴏʟᴇɴᴄᴇ ]
Wowww this book really got me hooked! I was sucked into this super fast-paced story and couldn’t put it down. I don’t remember the last time a book had me flipping pages this fast!! What a cliffhanger!!
What’s it about?
This is dystopian thriller where our main character, Luka, is stuck in a prison called The Loop where he is tortured daily. In this world, AI are everywhere and people are losing jobs to them causing poverty to skyrocket and living conditions to plummet. Cameras are installed in everyone’s foreheads and in drones that fly EVERYWHERE in surplus numbers, meaning they always know what you’re doing and it’s easy to get locked up.
Luka is a Regular, but there are also ALTs. These are genetically (robotically?) enhanced human beings, most commonly with technological hearts and lungs that work more efficiently than normal hearts and lungs.
The convicted people within the Loop are subjected to six-monthly medical experiments where new advancements for ALTs are trialed on them. Often, these fail, meaning the inmates die slow and painful deaths. The reason for these medical experiments is to ‘Delay’ the inmates’ execution for another six months.
So their choice is to agree to something that may or may not be worse than death, or be ‘Deleted’. They are kept in isolation cells that are soundproof and most people slowly go insane. They are allowed one hour a day of exercise where they can hear other people—which is absolutely the most exciting part of their day.
But then things start going wrong. The daily, government-issued rain stops falling at midnight when it should, and then the power goes out.
An utterly addictive read
This book is so damn hard to put down. Providing you are okay with all the trigger warnings, this is a brilliant and thrilling read. The horror isn’t over the top but I will warn and say there are zombie-like creatures in the book and a lot of violence in a few brief scenes. You could easily skip over these paragraphs if you didn’t want to read the violence, but otherwise is as good as any other action book!
I loved how the characters banded together in this book, and excitingly we have one girl who wears hearing aids (which turn off with the rest of the power) and one character who is blind. The main character can sign because his mum was deaf. So there’s a nice mix-up of differently-abled characters forming this rag-tag team that makes it more exciting than your usual dystopian.
I read most of this in two sittings because it was just so fast-paced and exciting. There are so many challenges for the characters to overcome and the AI presence is so unnerving and mysterious—things are slowly revealed throughout the story as the characters put things together.
I’m really looking forward to the rest of the books in this series. Oliver left this story off in such a good place to continue with book two. I was so worried this was only going to be a stand-alone because it’s so clear that there’s a lot more to come from this story!!
Grab a copy!
I am an affiliate with these companies. By using these links to purchase books you are supporting Upside-Down Books!
Support an Australian company with Angus & Robertson and get free shipping on orders over $60!
Support an Australian company with Booktopia and enjoy flat rate shipping for AUS/NZ!