The Waiting Rooms by Eve Smith @OrendaBooks #dystopian #thriller #suspense #bookreview

I am delighted to share my review today for The Waiting Rooms by Eve Smith. I think it was around this time last year that I read this author’s next book, Off Target (Full review HERE). It made such an impression that I immediately bought a copy of The Waiting Rooms, unfortunately, it took me nearly a year to read it. But it was excellent and has left me looking forward to more from this author.

The Waiting Rooms

Decades of spiralling drug resistance have unleashed a global antibiotic crisis. Ordinary infections are untreatable, and a scratch from a pet can kill. A sacrifice is required to keep the majority safe: no one over seventy is allowed new antibiotics. The elderly are sent to hospitals nicknamed ‘The Waiting Rooms’ … hospitals where no one ever gets well.

Twenty years after the crisis takes hold, Kate begins a search for her birth mother, armed only with her name and her age. As Kate unearths disturbing facts about her mother’s past, she puts her family in danger and risks losing everything. Because Kate is not the only secret that her mother is hiding. Someone else is looking for her, too.

Sweeping from an all-too-real modern Britain to a pre-crisis South Africa, The Waiting Rooms is epic in scope, richly populated with unforgettable characters, and a tense, haunting vision of a future that is only a few mutations away.

MY REVIEW

With Covid, Avian Flu and also the threat of resistance to antibiotics fresh in my mind I decided to read The Waiting Rooms. I have read the 2nd book Off Target by this author and it made a huge impression. The Waiting Rooms is an amazing book to read and at times one that can be quite uncomfortable.

This book is set up as having two timelines. One is pre-crisis and the other is a near-future setting. The pre-crisis draws the reader into a world where antibiotics are not working, and infections, diseases and illnesses are deadly for those who contract them. Wave after wave of resistant diseases is killing millions of people worldwide. The race to find alternative medicines and cures is on.

The near-future setting is one that we are sort of familiar with, face masks, no contact and being super careful about being in groups. However, the author has made it a much more dangerous scenario with riots, risks of attack and the dilemma of what to do with people who are too ill to continue with their lives.

While the story in the near future does have medical implications there is another underlying story. How this is connected to the pre-crisis setting is one that is intriguing and shows how things change over the decades. How dealing with one problem can set off a series of events that causes a larger problem in the future. I think this is something we can relate to easily when we look at fossil fuels and other industrial advances against the global climate we live in today. The author has taken a similar route and it is one that is all too easy to be able to realise.

This is a brilliant read. The terminology is basic to understand and the importance of decisions made and that has to be made is one that keeps the story moving. Events and characters have been woven and twisted so that I always wanted to what was going to happen next.

I adored the suspense and thrill of this story, but it also exudes an element of reality. An eye-opener of a thriller and one I would definitely recommend.

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Brave New World by Aldous Huxley #classicfiction #dystopian #scifi #bookreview

I am delighted to share my review today for an old classic. Brave New World by Aldous Huxley was written in 1931 and published in 1932. A book that I have wanted to read for years but actually managed to pick up and read at the beginning of December last Year.

Brave New World is a dystopian novel by English author Aldous Huxley, written in 1931 and published in 1932. Largely set in a futuristic World State, inhabited by genetically modified citizens and an intelligence-based social hierarchy, the novel anticipates huge scientific advancements in reproductive technology, sleep-learning, psychological manipulation and classical conditioning that are combined to make a dystopian society which is challenged by only a single individual: the story’s protagonist.

MY REVIEW

This is a book that I have been wanting to read for years but never got to it. I finally decided to give it a go. I was only aware of the basics of this book and I hadn’t read any other reviews about it.

What I discovered is quite a bizarre story that became quite addictive. It does have a strong literary fiction feel to it. At times the writing is poetic, at others disjointed and overall a story that gradually got under my skin.

The world that Huxley has created is one where people are expected to be happy, they are brainwashed into feeling this. There is no mother, father or in fact any type of family connection. Each person has been produced in a test tube and altered at a genetic level to become what is required for Huxley’s world to function. There is a layered social system where people are born to be what they are engineered to be, so someone with a lowly job will be content with that job. They don’t aspire to be anything more than what they are supposed to be.

Creating this world, the author then throws an anomaly in the system, this is something that shows that even with the use of technology there will be a time when nature intervenes, or it may be a simple human mistake. Either way, this is where the characters that start to question the system have a more important role.

In the second half of the book, there is a move from the system to that of the outside world, this is more what we know today. Parents, relationships and unique traits and characteristics. This for me is where the story then takes an even more addictive turn. The comparisons built up between those in the system and those out of it are great. By the end of the book, I found I was very interested in some of the characters. The ending, well that was a shock!

This is a fabulous book to read, and I did struggle to find the flow at the beginning. I did read it in two sittings. The first sitting was a bit wobbly and at 33% I decided to have a break, this turned out to be a great time to pause and then come back to it the following night. I then found myself unable to put this book down and finished it.

This is a book that has loads of reviews, has loads of opinions and there are probably theories and it will have been analysed in every aspect. I read for the pleasure of it, so for me, this book was one that intrigued me. It did feel disjointed, to begin with, but it grew on me. I enjoyed this and I am very glad that I have read this book.

For a book that was written in 1931 and published in 1932, it has some brilliant imagination and foresight into a possible future. A world where people are engineered to fit into a hierarchical society. It is a very good book and it is one I would happily recommend.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

This most prominent member of the famous Huxley family of England spent part of his life from 1937 in Los Angeles in the United States until his death. Best known for his novels and wide-ranging output of essays, he also published short stories, poetry, travel writing, and film stories and scripts. Through novels and essays, Huxley functioned as an examiner and sometimes critic of social mores, norms and ideals. Spiritual subjects, such as parapsychology and philosophical mysticism, interested Huxley, a humanist, towards the end of his life. People widely acknowledged him as one of the pre-eminent intellectuals of his time before the end of his life.

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A Kinder City by Peter Taylor-Gooby @PeterT_G @ZooloosBT @matadorbooks #dysopian #bookreview

I am delighted to share my review today for A Kinder City by Peter Taylor-Gooby. This is a fabulous read and one that fans of dystopian are going to enjoy.

My huge thanks to Zoe at Zooloo’s Book Tours for my spot on the Blog Tour.

The City is governed by the grim law of profit and loss. No exceptions, no place for compassion, pleasure, the warmth of friendship or the ardour of love. David, an Enforcer committed to the Law, meets Sarah, a villager from outside, and begins to understand that a different, more joyful, life is possible.


A Kinder City tells the story of their tangled relationship and of how they fall in love, and their struggle against Franklin, the richest man in Market World. If the only law is the market, why not sell everything – and that includes the air we breathe, the land we stand on, the water we drink? No exceptions. His giant factories spew forth the road beasts – the huge machines that devastate the lands beyond the City in pursuit of yet more wealth. Not content with cloning animals, he traps horses in exoskeletons and works them to death. Torn between her growing passion for David and her revulsion at the City that he is pledged to protect, Sarah turns her back on him.


In despair, he confronts one of the convoys supplying Franklin’s mills and releases the horses trapped within the giant trucks. Pursued by terrifying security guards they escape to the Broken Lands and witness at first-hand the desolation that results from ruthless strip-mining and industrial farming driven purely by greed and the misery of the remaining villagers. In their struggle to survive and return to the City they discover the power of their love for each other. Sarah challenges Franklin to his face and, helped by David, sparks off a rebellion among the poor of the City. Together they defeat Franklin. He must learn what it means to be destitute and alone in Market World. The possibility of building a kinder City lies within their grasp.

PURCHASE LINKS – AMAZON – UK US

MY REVIEW

This is the first time I have read anything by this author and I really enjoyed A Kinder City. It is a dystopian novel that had a very good message behind it.

David is an Enforcer for Market World, a company that has been set up for the benefit of people. It is supposed to be a fair system where everything has a price and no bartering, swapping or donations are acceptable. Transactions are via a wristband, the equivalent of a smartwatch. Your wristband is your account, therefore you are your account. David lives and works in the city, everything is regulated, ruled and runs on time.

When he meets Sarah, a villager he attempts to show her how good the city is. She is very different to him, and while she sees what the city has to offer she knows what is happening outside the city. An eye-opener for David and he starts to see that Market World and the man who runs it, Franklin, are not quite the be-all and end-all.

I really enjoyed this book, so much so that it became a one-sitting read for me. It is a dystopian style thriller and one that did also feel like a Young Adult read as well. Very addictive reading!

The landscape that the author built up showed a contrast between a city where things run smoothly, but behind the facade, something more sinister is lurking. Some are aware of this, but not all. In some respects, this is a political thriller as Franklin wants his dream and his vision to encompass everywhere and everything. His policies do not take into account the impact he is having on the environment and the people outside the city. He produces machines that pollute and destroy but give the greatest profits. Sounds a little familiar doesn’t it?

Having to weave various threads, the author has created a world that shows the difference between working for profit and gain against working with and for nature. This is something that is very relevant in today’s world and I think this is what really works so well for this book.

I really enjoyed the various threads in this story, a chance to discover the truth for David, political wranglings, the hope that Franklin can be stopped and that there is a possibility that all could fall down and even more hardships are incurred by those who do not live or work by the cities rules.

I really think this is a book that would appeal to many readers. It has the political intrigue of business against people, there is a thriller element and environmental issues. A tense story that I adored and I would definitely recommend.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Peter Taylor-Gooby is a sociologist. He has published widely and made many TV and radio appearances. His novels deal with issues that matter – love, money, power and environmental disaster. He has worked on adventure playgrounds, in a social security office and as a teacher. He loves walking, cycling, writing and talking to his children. 

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Off Target by Eve Smith @Evecsmith @RandomTTours @OrendaBooks #dystopian #thriller #fiction #bookreview

I am delighted to share my review today for Off Target by Eve Smith. This was a fabulous read and one that I adored. It does have a dystopian edge to it, but also it is something that has a scarily possible amount of believability to it.

My huge thanks to Anne at Random Things Tours for my spot on the Blog Tour and for arranging my e-copy of this book from the publisher Orenda Books.

What if your future was just one modification away?

In an all-too-possible near future, when genetic engineering has become the norm for humans, parents are prepared to take incalculable risks to ensure that their babies are perfect – altering genes that may cause illness, and more…


Susan has been trying for a baby for years, and when an impulsive one-night stand makes her dream come true, she’ll do anything to keep her daughter and ensure her husband doesn’t find out … including the unthinkable.

She believes her secret is safe. For now. But as governments embark on a perilous genetic arms race and children around the globe start experiencing a host of distressing symptoms – even taking their
own lives – something truly horrendous is unleashed. Because those children have only one thing in common, and people are starting to ask questions…


Critically acclaimed bestseller Eve Smith returns with a terrifying, cautionary glimpse of what the future may hold, with a startlingly thought-provoking blockbuster of a thriller
.

MY REVIEW

Off Target is a near-future dystopian thriller that had me hooked. This is a story that is so thought-provoking and in some ways, there are basics of this book that do actually happen. If you could have therapy to remove a gene to prevent your child from developing a serious, fatal or debilitating disease would you go through with it? This is a very basic premise of this book, the route the author took is one that had me hooked as she weaves some serious effects, opinions, outcomes and points of view in this book.

After trying for years to fall pregnant, it turns out a one-night stand was all it would take for Susan to finally conceive. She knows her husband Steve is not going to be supportive of this, well who would be! But changing the DNA so that all the tests come back as the baby is Steve’s is something that is an option in the world that the author has created.

This is a book that absolutely hit me from the first few pages. Changing something is good but changing something that is fundamentally a part of who you are is an entirely different matter. This futuristic world has many advancements, some of these are legal, but with all things legal there are also illegal processes.

For me, the author sets up this story so well, introducing you to the characters, their problems and how things are for those desperate to have a child. The author gives differing opinions, perspectives and viewpoints. She also deals with moral dilemmas as well as ethical ones. All this was incorporated into an absolutely riveting read.

Once the author has her hooks into me, she then turned up the pressure taking a darker and more serious line. It felt like a butterfly effect, where if you change one thing it will affect something else along the way somewhere.

This is a story that is a, WOW!, story, it isn’t that far fetched as you think as some things are already occurring and a quick look on the internet will soon give examples. I must admit I didn’t stray too far on the net because there are many conspiracy theories out there. But, it is an eye-opener all the same.

WHat the author has achieved with this book is to give an insight into a moral and ethical dilemma between her characters. Right or wrong is going to be something the reader will decide on as they read. It certainly makes for some interesting thoughts as I finished the book.

Brilliant story, addictive, insightful, balanced and just so damned good to read and I would absolutely recommend it.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Eve Smith writes speculative fiction – mainly about the things that scare her – which she attributes to a childhood watching Tales of the Unexpected and black-and-white Edgar Allen Poe double bills. Previously COO of an environmental charity, she has an ongoing passion for wild creatures, wild science and far-flung places. Twitter @evecsmith; Instagram: evesmithauthor; Facebook: EveSmithAuthor and http://www.evesmithauthor.com.

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The Book of Sand by Theo Clare #NetGalley @CENTURYBOOKSUK #fantasy #dystopian #bookreview

I am delighted to share my review today for The Book of Sand by Theo Clare. This is a good-sized fantasy book that has a dystopian and mystery/ thriller feel to it. It is due for Publication tomorrow and I wish to thank Century Books UK for my e-copy that I received via NetGalley.

The Book of Sand: the first novel in an epic series created by the late Mo Hayder, one
of the UK’s finest and most inventive storytellers.

SAND. A hostile world of burning sun.

Outlines of several once-busy cities shimmer on the horizon. Now empty of inhabitants, their buildings lie in ruins.

In the distance a group of people – a family – walk towards us.

Ahead lies shelter: a ‘shuck’ the family call home and which they know they must reach before the light fails, as to be out after dark is to invite danger and almost certain death.

To survive in this alien world of shifting sand, they must find an object hidden in or near water. But other families want it too. And they are willing to fight to the death to make it theirs.

It is beginning to rain in Fairfax County, Virginia when McKenzie Strathie wakes up. An ordinary teenage girl living an ordinary life – except that the previous night she found a sand-lizard in her bed, and now she’s beginning to question everything around her, especially who she really is …

Two very different worlds featuring a group of extraordinary characters driven to the very limit of their endurance in a place where only the strongest will survive.

MY REVIEW

This is a book that completely caught me by surprise, I was aware that there were two stories involved here but how they connected was a complete curve ball!

One timeline is a group, or as they refer to themselves, a family who are surviving in an inhospitable desert. Each member has a different background and they have random memories from their previous life.

The second is of a young girl, fascinated by wind and sand. She lives in the US and is looked at as a bit of an oddity, her family don’t understand her and her obsessions.

I really don’t know how to start this review so it may be a little disjointed and most likely very vague! The two storylines don’t seem to have any connectors in them, two completely different worlds and people. One is a world we would recognise, as it has a present-day “normal world” setting. The other is definitely not, think of something like Dune but with scarier creatures that emerge at night and that has a time limit to it.

The two stories are very good in their own right, and it took me a while to realise how unconnected they both are. It is not until a lot later in the book that there is that sudden OMG moment when the author literally drops the bombshell. And it was a massive one that suddenly changed the story.

Given the slower and slightly disjointed storyline at the start of the story, I found something about this that kept me reading. I have seen very different reviews of this and some feel that it does go on a bit long. Others and I am one, think it is perfect. I thought it was a way of the author making sure we really get to know the characters. I also found that it very subtly ramped up the mystery and intrigue and I didn’t realise that until the bombshell moment.

This is a book that I really enjoyed, it is a mix of dystopian, fantasy, contemporary and mystery. It is from the pen of Mo Hayder who sadly passed away this year (July 2021) at the age of 59. This book is the first time I had read anything by her and I will be going through the back catalogue.

The Book of Sand is a story that I do think will divide readers, it is one that I found was really intriguing and it was the two separate timelines and the different worlds that really drew me in. The end section does change things a lot and it becomes darker and more dangerous.

I really enjoyed this and I would definitely recommend it if you are looking for something engaging, mysterious, dystopian and a little bit different.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Mo Hayder

THEO CLARE left school at fifteen. She worked as a barmaid, security guard, filmmaker, hostess in a
Tokyo club, educational administrator and teacher of English as a foreign language in Asia. She had an
MA in film from The American University in Washington, DC and an MA in creative writing from Bath
Spa University, UK. She wrote crime novels under the name Mo Hayder, and her fifth novel Ritual was
nominated for the Barry Award for Best Crime 2009 and was voted Best Book of 2008 by Publishers
Weekly. Gone, her seventh novel, won the Edgar Allan Poe Award, and her novel Wolf was nominated
for Best Novel in the 2015 Edgar Awards and is currently being adapted for the BBC. Theo Clare was
diagnosed with motor neurone disease in December 2020 and passed away in July 2021.

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No Child of Mine by Olga Gibbs @olgagibbsauthor @ZooloosBT  #NoChildOfMine #ZooloosBookTours #dystopian #thriller #bookreview

I am delighted to share my review today for No Child of Mine by Olga Gibbs. This was a fabulous dystopian thriller that had a strong Orwellian feel and I really enjoyed it.

My huge thanks to Zoe at Zooloo’s Book Tours for my spot on the Blog Tour and for arranging my e-copy of the book.

“No Child of Mine” is a story of a father’s journey to save his child from a totalitarian regime, who is in order to bury the truth prepared to exterminate an entire generation.


57th Year of the true leadership of The Ordained Liberating Party; or Year 2273 by the old calendar.


“The Collapse” took millions of lives and most of the country’s farming lands, bringing the surviving population of the island to the brink of starvation.

Out of the aftermath of the chaos and anarchy, a new state had emerged, known as The Federation Britannia, run by the single and unopposed Ordained Liberating Party.


The division of the country’s orphanages for children of “the true citizens” and children of “the enemies of the state” began the clearance of the questionable element, and bloody years of the Age of Cleansing had finished the purge, leaving behind a perfectly obedient electorate that marched every year in the Liberation Day parades, praising the Party’s leadership and following the Party’s every directive.

The rule of the Party is absolute. Its tool of compliance, the State Security Unit, is feared.

Tom isn’t a frightened follower, he is a true believer. He loves the Party with all his heart. He trusts in the Party’s wisdom. The Party had raised him, rewarding his devotion and love with a lucrative engineering job, and after the approval for the Procreation licence, it also granted him a family.

But the unexpected midnight visit by the State Security to his flat, questions asked and blood samples collected, unsettles Tom more than he likes to admit, and the following day, whilst investigating the “black uniforms” interest, Tom witnesses the State Security troops, led by the familiar officer, marshalling the children from his daughter’s nursery, packing them into trucks and taking them into the unknown.

At that moment Tom is forced to make a decision: either to follow the Party directive and to surrender his child into its plenary care or to protect what he loves and run.


But there’s nowhere to run. There’s no escape from the island or from the complete control of the Ordained Liberating Party.

PURCHASE LINKS – Amazon UK or US

MY REVIEW

I do enjoy a dystopian thriller that has an opening that sets the tone of the story to follow. No Child of Mine sets that tone so well in the opening pages.

In a state-run system, everything and everyone is controlled for the betterment of the population and for the good of the country. It has been 57 years since the birth of The Federation of Britannia, there had been years of crime and chaos and now there is peace and law-abiding citizens. People work and are given incentives to better themselves.

As I read this book I was immediately reminded of Orwell’s 1984, the state-run country, the timings, the Big Brother-style ruling and the obedience of the citizens. It gives the reader a dark, atmospheric and intriguing read.

But within this story, there is something more sinister going on. Not immediately obvious but I knew something wasn’t right. I mean why round up children? They are the future in this story. What followed was something that I didn’t expect, but that I found completely compelling.

I really liked this story, it gave a mundane dreariness to the people that are subservient with the monotony of their lives. Tom is the main character and he believes wholly in the state system, he had been brought up on it and trusts it completely. SO, why would he suddenly doubt what he has known and trusted?

The author has woven a wonderful tale, one full of mystery, suspense and intrigue. Having a single ruling party for this story and for the actions that follow was brilliant. I admit it is not a society I would ever want to live in, but reading a story about it makes a really interesting read.

This is one for those readers who like dystopian novels, especially those with the Orwellian influence. I think this one has been done very well indeed and I found it to be really addictive and I adored it. I would definitely recommend it. 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Olga Gibbs is a mental health expert who has experience of working with disturbance in adolescents and young people. Using her Masters in Creative Writing, she explores taboo topics such as borderline personality and social effective disorder, effects of abuse and insecure attachment in young people and the inner world which is so rarely spoken about. She was born and raised in USSR and now lives in UK. Olga Gibbs is also a creative writing coach and mentor. Please visit author website for more information on upcoming books.

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The Lion and The Unicorn by Tom Ward @TomWardWrites @unbounders @RandomTTours #dystopian #bookreview

I am delighted to share my review today for The Lion and The Unicorn by Tom Ward. This is a dystopian speculative fiction story that was very atmospheric.

My huge thanks to Anne at Random Things Tours for my spot on the Blog Tour and for arranging my copy of this book from Unbound.

A literary dystopia – speculative fiction rooted in the tradition of P. D.
James’s Children of Men, Orwell’s 1984, Blade Runner and The Plague Dogs, for
fans of Rachel Heng’s Suicide Club, Emily St John Mandel’s Station Eleven, and
John Lanchester’s The Wal
l

London, 2054. After a devastating global pandemic and a bloody revolution,
Britain’s new government imposes peace by stringently dictating the nation’s
cultural intake. In the quest to create better citizens, everything from the
television we watch to the clothes we wear is strictly policed. As part of the unit
tasked with upholding these so-called ‘Bad Taste Laws’, H. and his partner,
Bagby, have their work cut out.


When former reality TV star Caleb Jennings is found murdered, some suspect it
could be a simple vigilante slaying. But, as H. digs deeper into the killing,
Bagby’s association with old revolutionary figureheads is called into question.
With the help of Caleb’s estranged sister, the museum curator Kate Faron, H.
must navigate a Britain in which paranoia and suspicion of the unknown are
rife, all the while dealing with the mysterious tech behemoth Vangelis, new
revolutionary murmurings, and the legacy of Kate’s biologist parents.
Compelled by what he uncovers, H. begins to question his loyalty to the state at
a time when national stability couldn’t be more precarious.

MY REVIEW…

This is a story that is set in 2054, so not really that far in the future. A pandemic has struck and there has been a revolution. The author has built up a dystopian England where things are banned that are considered to be bad taste. A political thriller where citizens are dictated to, where certain clothes, music, film and alcohol are illegal.

This was a story I took my time over, there were various aspects of this story that did sort of remind of other novels or films. I think because of this the story came across being set in a darker, gloomy era. This does have quite a strong political aspect to it in regards to what is seen as being politically correct.

There are elements of Big Brother, global catastrophe, potential genocide, loss of habitat and wildlife. So not the most cheery of stories but my goodness it was very addictive. The story is set in this grim future with the main character of H. He and his partner work for the department that upholds the law regarding bad taste. As the synopsis mentions, Bagby does have connections to those involved in the past revolution, therefore eyes and fingers point his way when a body is discovered.

The story is one that reminded me of the old style PI stories of the 1930’s, for me H became someone in the style of Phillip Marlow or Sam Spade, it is just the atmospheric and style of the character that made me think this. It may seem quite odd that for me I got the dystopian vibe through some of the gadgets, but I still found myself thinking of the older style.

This is a mix of mystery, politics, thriller, dystopian and police procedural. Not too heavy on the future as such but enough to remind that it is indeed set in the near future. This is quite an accessible novel and one that may well dip into the sci-fi genre but please don’t be put off by it. I really enjoyed this, the pacing was great and it had quite an suspicious nature to it as I wasn’t sure who I could entirely trust. I liked H as a character and I really felt for him as he tried to put many different pieces of this everchanging puzzle together. As he found one piece the puzzle changed and he found himself on the back foot once again.

A riveting and very captivating story that I got on with so well. It is one I would definitely recommend.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR…

Tom Ward is an author and features writer, writing for publications including
Wired, Esquire and National Geographic.


He has won the GQ Norman Mailer Award, the PPA New Consumer Magazine
Journalist of the Year Award, and has been shortlisted for The People’s Book
Prize. He is also a graduate of the Faber Academy.

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This Fragile Earth by Susannah Wise @susannahwise @RandomTTours @Gollancz #dystopian #bookreview

I am delighted to share my review today for This Fragile Earth by Susannah Wise. I really enjoyed this dystopian book set in the near distant future.

My huge thanks to Anne at Random Things Tours for my spot on the Blog Tour and for arranging my fabulous copy of this book.

Not long from now, in a recognizable yet changed London, Signy and Matthew lead a dull, difficult life. They’ve only really stayed together for the sake of their six year old son, Jed. But they’re surviving, just about. Until the day the technology that runs their world stops working. Unable to use their phones, pay for anything, even open the smart door to their flat, Matthew assumes that this is just a momentary glitch in the computers that now run the world.

But then the electricity and gas are cut off. Even the water stops running. And the pollination drones – vital to the world, ever since the bees all died – are behaving oddly. People are going missing. Soldiers are on the streets. London is no longer safe.

A shocking incident sends Signy and Jed on the run, desperate to flee London and escape to the small village where Signy grew up. Determined to protect her son, Signy will do almost anything to survive as the world falls apart around them. But she has no idea what is waiting for them outside the city…

My Review…

Beginning in London in the not too distant future machinery starts to fail. Everything is machine-based from water supplies and electricity to cars, computers, doctors and everything that makes everyday life easier.

Realising this may not be a glitch Signy with her son Jed decide to make the journey to her mother’s house. Pollution is something that is more advanced than today, special glasses to protect eyes, safe drinking water is just the very basics that have to be taken into consideration. Transport is down, no cars, trams, buses just an old heavy bike is all that is available to Signy as she makes her journey. Leaving London behind.

This is a very atmospheric book and one that involves futuristic science. The author has used the extinction of bees as being one of the important factors in her futuristic world, this is coupled with a computer system that controls everything from planting and growing of food, medical advice and treatment, pretty much everything.

As Signy and Jed make their journey, the author gradually fills in what has happened and what could potentially be happening as things change. It is a chance to pose questions, delve into living conditions, explore the science of this changing world.

As much as I really enjoyed this story and I did find it addictive, I did find that Jed did start to grate on my nerves. A child who is incredibly clever and one that doesn’t always have a sense of respect. While Signy does her best, I could feel her frustrations with the constant questions and felt the pressure building.

This is a book that I found interesting, there were some of the science things that I didn’t understand, but sort of got the gist of. There is a moralistic thread in this story as we look at how today’s environment is standing on a precipice. It is this that makes this sort of near-future story more believable. Advances in technology, reliance on machinery and gadgets all help to add an authentic feel.

This was a really good read, it is one for those who like atmospheric, slower-paced intriguing and thought-provoking reads. A dystopian novel set in the near future and one I would recommend reading.

About the Author…

Portrait. 2012, Credit Johan Persson/

SUSANNAH WISE is an actor and writer who grew up in London and the Midlands. The death of her
father in 2015 was the catalyst for THIS FRAGILE EARTH. His preoccupation with astronomy and the
beauty of the night sky formed the jumping-off point for the story. Susannah studied at the Faber
Academy, graduating in September 2018, during which time she wrote a second, more peculiar novel.
Both books have been longlisted for the Mslexia prize. She lives in London with her partner and son.

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The Nirvana Effect by Brian Pinkerton @BrianJPinkerton @RandomTTours @FlameTreePress #dysotpian #bookreview

I am delighted to share my review today for The Nirvana Effect by Brian Pinkerton. I really enjoyed this dysotpian futuristic novel and it was a very addictive read.

My huge thanks to Anne at Random Things Tours for my spot on the Blog Tour and for arranging my copy of this book from Flame Tree Press.

No one goes out anymore.


Society is sheltered indoors. The economy is in ruins. People spend their lives addicted to a breakthrough virtual reality technology, desperate for escapism in a troubled world. The Nirvana Effect has taken over.


Aaron and Clarissa are members of a subculture of realists who resist the lure of a fake utopia. They watch in horror as the technology spreads across the country with willing participants who easily forgo their freedoms for false
pleasures. When the young couple discovers a plot to enforce compliance for mind control, the battle for free will begins.

What started as a playful diversion turns deadly. The future of the human race is at stake.

Purchase LinkAmazon UK

My Review…

I do love a good dystopian story that has a certain amount of believability to it, or one that you can understand how things get to the point they do. The Nirvana Effect is a book that has that certain amount of believability to it and it is one that had me hooked.

This is based on the idea that people can chill out and experience a calm and tranquil state. They can experience new adventures and take part in activities or travel the world without ever leaving their sofa. Sounds ok, I mean we already have VR devices, we use mobile devices and computers to escape from everyday life. Video games are played around the world, movies are watched, books are read and often on a small screen. So is it such a far fetched idea that at some point there could be a chip implanted so that these feeds are automatically sent into a chip inserted into your body!

I like how the author has taken the basis of having various different subscription feeds sent directly to your brain. He has then rather cleverly expanded on this theme so that he draws the reader into a state where everyday life is harder to deal with and the escape is into a virtual reality that can become more real than real life.

He then goes further as he introduces theories from those who are against the chip, as well as from the corporation, management and business. Government and politics are also brought in and these various angles give two clear sides showing a for and against balance.

The characters in the story are from a range of backgrounds and this gives another set of viewpoints to consider. Technology is everywhere in our modern society and this is the next step up to the “Big Brother” style regime. The key characters have their part to play in how and why they are avoiding the chip implants, or why they see dangers ahead in how the chips could be used.


I really adored this story, it has been well thought out and not over the top with tech terminology making it very accessible for a lot of readers. It is a story that I found gripping and it has a certain amount of suspense and tension in it. A good amount of conspiracy always goes down well in this sort of story. Overall I thoroughly enjoyed this and would definitely recommend it.

About the Author…

Brian Pinkerton tells stories to frighten, amuse and intrigue. He is the author of novels and short stories in
the thriller, horror, science fiction and mystery genres. His books include The Gemini Experiment, Abducted (a USA
Today bestseller), Vengeance, Anatomy of Evil, Killer’s Diary, Rough Cut, Bender, Killing the Boss and How I
Started the Apocalypse (a trilogy). Select titles have also been released as audio books and in foreign languages. His short stories have appeared in PULP!, Chicago Blues, Zombie Zoology and The Horror Zine.


Brian has been a guest author and panellist at the San Diego Comic Con, American Library Association annual conference, World Horror Convention and many other literary and genre events. His screenplays have finished in
the top 100 of Project Greenlight and top two percent of the Nicholl Fellowship of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. Three of the scripts have been compiled in a collection, Unreleased. Brian received his B.A. from the University of Iowa, where he took undergraduate classes of the Iowa Writers Workshop. He received his Master’s Degree from Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism.

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The Fall of Koli by M.R. Carey @michaelcarey191 @Tr4cyF3nt0n #compulsivereaders @orbitbooks #fantasy #dystopian #bookreview

I am absolutely delighted to share my review today for The Fall of Koli by M.R. Carey. I am also gutted that this is the final book in The Rampart Trilogy.

My huge thanks to Tracy at Compulsive Readers for my spot on the Blog Tour and for arranging my book with the publisher Orbit Books.

The Fall of Koli is the third and final novel in the breathtakingly original Rampart trilogy – set in a strange and deadly world of our own making.

The world that is lost will come back to haunt us . . .

Koli has come a long way since being exiled from his small village of Mythen Rood. In his search for the fabled tech of the old times, he knew he’d be battling strange, terrible beasts and trees that move as fast as whips. But he has already encountered so much more than he bargained for.

Now that Koli and his companions have found the source of the signal they’ve been following – the mysterious “Sword of Albion” – there is hope that their perilous journey will finally be worth something.

Until they unearth terrifying truths about an ancient war . . . and realise that it may have never ended.

My Review…


The Fall of Koli is the final book in the trilogy and as much as I was eager to read it there is also a sadness knowing this is it.

Having previously read and loved the first two books I didn’t even think about reading the synopsis before I began. The title gives an indication that the story is coming to an end, but how that end is arrived at was something that I was strangely nervous about.

If you have read the previous books then you know that this is set in the future, it has several characters that join the main character Koli. Koli is an exile from his village and has to survive the wilderness. Not your average forest, this one has trees and plants that are as fierce and carnivorous as wild animals.

While Koli is making his journey, the village he has left behind has not been forgotten by the author. Spinner’s character is used skillfully to keep the reader up to date with what is happening in Mythen Rood.

The world the author has created is one that is full of awe, wonder and danger. Old technology is prized, even more so if it still works. One piece of tech is Monono. There are also weapons and medical equipment.

The final book sees the author filling in gaps, linking stories and also going back to finally give the reader the full picture. Explanations about some of the tech, what a strange signal is and also to give such a wonderful conclusion.

I am aware that this review may be vague, but if you have not read the previous books then there should be no spoilers.

M.R. Carey has created a world of characters having adventures that I adored. Each book has been an addictive read, from building blocks of the first book, through to more explanations and travels in the second until the final stunning conclusion of the final one.

An absolutely amazing trilogy from start to finish and it is one I would very absolutely recommend to those who like dystopian and fantasy genres.

About the Author…

M.R. Carey

Mike Carey is the acclaimed writer of Lucifer and Hellblazer (now filmed as Constantine). He has recently completed a comics adaptation of Neil Gaiman’s Neverwhere, and is the current writer on Marvel’s X-Men and Ultimate Fantastic Four. He has also written the screenplay for a movie, Frost Flowers, which is soon to be produced by Hadaly Films and Bluestar Pictures.

Also writes as Mike Carey 

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Here are all three books in all of their gorgeous-ness

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