Implanted by Lauren C Teffeau
Angry Robot, pb, £8.99
Reviewed by Martin Willoughby
This was good. Twists turns, good guys who are almost bad guys, and bad guys who are not quite bad guys. In the middle is Emery, a recent graduate looking for a good job in the dome.
In her spare time, Emery hunts down criminals and plays immersive video games. She came up from the undercity thanks to her parents and is now looking to repay them by getting them out.
Then she gets into trouble. Her clandestine pastimes have caught up with her and she is blackmailed into becoming a courier for a high tech company that uses encoded blood to transmit information.
The upside is that her family are well looked after, she gets to leave after ten years and pursue whatever career she likes with a large bank account to boot. The downside is that everyone has to think she’s dead. Everyone. Including the man she’s just met.
Emery realises she has no choice. After some intense training, her first forays are simple and she gets to see parts of the city she didn’t know existed, as well as returning to the undercity for a couple of jobs.
Then a job goes wrong. Horribly.
She carrying something for the New Worth’s government and is intercepted, then suspected by all sides of being a traitor. As the encoded blood will kill her after three days, she needs help fast.
This is a cracking tale. It’s reminiscent of the best spy thrillers of the last century, mixed up with some well thought out SF technological ideas.
A city under a dome, encoded blood, neural implants, potential genocide, all set on an Earth reeling from an ecological disaster.
The writing is good, the characters well thought out and drawn, while the society and city are complete. I could imagine every part of it.
It’s a book I didn’t want to put down, but my body needed me to sleep, eat and drink. Damn.
Overall I highly recommend this to anyone who wants to read about a future where humanity is trying to survive and is making the best of it. It’s not dystopian, but neither is it sunshine and lollipops. The world is a slightly improved reflection of our own, while the choices the characters have to make are all too familiar.