I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review. My opinions remain my own.
Forever People by Alison Lyke
Genre: adult science fiction/cyberpunk
Welcome to Zeta City, where the whole world goes to die. Here, the Node System uploads the minds of the dying so they can spend eternity in a digital Promised Land. But, this cyber heaven is causing hell on earth for the living because the System forces them to earn Points to buy data in the afterlife.
Camille is a salty mercenary out to hoard as many Points as possible by exploiting the dying with illegal technology. She’s on the hunt for Toy, a rebel leader who uploaded lethal technology to her own brain in an attempt to wipe out everyone’s Node Points.
Camille goes to increasingly dangerous lengths in pursuit of Toy. She soon finds that the Node is full of warm reunions with loved ones and otherworldly creations. It’s also full of lies.
“Forget poetic dreams of ghosts in the machines. We are the machine. We donated our souls to it.”
I really enjoy science fiction, so I was pleased to be offered a chance to review this new book. The author has written one other book, but this is her first effort at a science fiction story. There are a lot of YA dystopians out there, but this was a book that dealt with some theological issues, and that was something out of the ordinary.
Let me start with what I liked. I liked the basic premise. We all know that life on earth is full of injustice and a struggle to survive. What if even Heaven turned out to be set up to favor the rich and powerful? What if your afterlife depended on how much wealth and influence you have before you die? In a way, I guess you COULD take it with you.
At least, that’s how it seems in Zeta City. It was structured to favor the rich intentionally; it just worked out that way. It was supposed to be set up so that good karma would get you ‘Node Points’. It’s just that rich people have more to donate, so they wind up with more NP. I found all of this well thought out.
Next we can talk characters. Camille is our MC and I really did not like her at first. She is a mercenary who seems obsessed with earning more NP. Then she’d surprise me by seeming more human. I couldn’t figure her out for quite a while. Eventually, though, the reader finds out what’s behind her money grubbing ways. She has a strong back story that really changed how I saw her.
Now for what I didn’t like. While the frame of the story makes sense, there’s a lot going on here that I just didn’t understand. All the technical aspects of trying to break into the Node, etc, didn’t make any sense to me. I guess in the end you just have to go along with it, but it was pretty implausible.
Some of the characters were pretty flat. Toy, the fanatic who starts the story, does seem to have enough charisma to influence anyone. We were told about how strong she was, but I didn’t see any sign of it except her dramatic suicide. The Founders are only shadowy figures with the vaguest of motives.
Finally, this isn’t a major complaint, but it would have been fun to see more of the other parts of the Node. We did get to see Maybury and the Wild West. I wonder what Wonderland was like?
Thanks again for the chance to read this one. If you are interested, you can buy it here.
tour made possible by R & R book tours.