Reading Level: Adult
Genre: Science Fiction/Cyberpunk
Length: 333 pages
Release Date: November 10th, 2015
Stand Alone or Series: Stand Alone
Source: eGalley from NetGalley.com
Rating: 4.5/5 stars
I got a copy of this book to review from NetGalley. I really enjoyed Mantchev’s Theatre Illuminata series and also read her book Ticker, which was okay but not great. I was very curious to read what sounded like a cyberpunk story by her. The story started out a bit slow but once it got going was very engaging and entertaining. This is more of an adult read than a YA read; there is quite a bit of swearing, drug use, sex, and violence.
Cyrene is a city where energy is currency; the more you generate the better off you are. The rest of the world uses Cyrene as a harvest site for energy. This story follows two main characters. The first is Vee, who is the lead singer of a band named Sugar Skulls that is quickly becoming the next big thing in Cyrene. The second character is Micah, who is off-the-grid and on the run. Micah’s nanotech got knocked offline after a nearly fatal drug overdose and he’s been trying to get revenge on the drug dealers that provided the drug ever since his recovery.
This is very much a cyberpunk type of story in the same vein as books by William Gibson and Neal Stephenson. The world is a bleak place in the midst of an energy crisis and Cyrene is the Corporation’s answer. Young people are allowed into Cyrene and their one mission is to party and party hard. The energy they make with their partying is siphoned away to provide power. Admittance into Cyrene is highly prized and highly sought after.
Vee has a unique voice that generates a lot of emotion from the people she sings to; more emotion equals more energy and so the Corporation really likes having Vee work for them. However, Vee is a girl without a past; she has had her memory wiped and rebuilt numerous times. She doesn’t know why she agreed to this memory wiping; but she did agree to it. I enjoyed Vee’s toughness and her style of fast-living. I also loved her daring and resourcefulness. Despite this toughness, she is still somewhat vulnerable.
Micah also has a dark past. He is off-grid and hiding in the shadows after him and his friends nearly died trying a new drug called Applejack. Micah only wants to hunt down those drug dealers who peddle Applejack, but then he hears Vee sing.
What follows is a story of somewhat star-crossed love; as Vee and Micah try to connect despite the odds. Their paths end up crossing again and again as Vee tries to figure out her dark past and Micah tries to get revenge against the people who caused his darkness.
The story is beautifully written which lots of glitter and beauty throughout the darkness. It’s one of those books where the glittering scenes are all that more bright because of the dank surroundings. Although it’s not completely unique (humans were used as energy source in the Matrix and this story shares themes with a number of other cyberpunk stories); the story is well done and interesting.
The pace starts out a bit slow but then the story proceeds at a breakneck pace. It ended up being very engaging and hard to put down. Everything is resolved and wrapped up nicely and I enjoyed it.
Overall this was a well done cyberpunk read that was fast-paced and engaging. I would recommend to those who enjoy cyberpunk stories. Just keep in mind this is very different from Mantchev’s previous works and is really more meant for adults.
This book goes towards the following reading challenges:
– You Read How Many Books? Reading Challenge