|This is a great read and worthy follow-up to Hope, the author’s first book in this trilogy.
Picking up decades after Hope in the year 2061, Britain is now a plastic, contrived social media theme park dominated by a dynastic corporate family. The so-called megacities provide corporate playgrounds for a shallow, facile population of wannabe social media stars doubling as feckless worker drones obsessed with productivity, health and well-being. Though safe and unthreatening on the surface, these cities are actually ruthless control structures, where the penalties for non-conformity can be severe.
Those who fail to live up to the demanding, controlled life in the megacity are relegated to Hope Villages – camp-like communities that resemble small workhouse towns, where people must work to receive basic food shelter and medical assistance. Guarded night and day, the Hope Village is dominated by criminal gangs and brutal regimes – the last place the megacity townies want to end up, creating a climate of fear and anxiety among the conformists, promoting informers and spies alike.
Outside both these structures lies the Wasteland, populated by the poor, wretched deviants known and feared as ‘rats’ – criminals, vagrants and ne’er-do-wells who scrape a miserable existence from the charity of the few organisations trying to provide a life outside the control of the megacities.
We are introduced to Rae, a young woman whose life in Mega-City 12 is typical – abandoned as a baby, she is a true ward of the state, brought up and indoctrinated into the corporate life and conformed to its tightly-controlled regulation. Yet she knows she has a family – mother, brother and sister, and believes they are alive and living somewhere out in the Wasteland, and feels drawn to them despite her relatively comfortable life.
What I really loved about this story is how quickly it slides from a familiar, almost comfortable lost child story into a dystopian nightmare. I started the story needing to warm up to Rae after really enjoying the journey of Hope with its likeable protagonist Lita. It looked like the story was about to take a predictable and possibly mawkish line down the ‘family reunion’ lane but about halfway through the wheels really come off and suddenly we’re headlong into a genuine nightmare. I can only liken it to getting aboard ‘It’s a Small World’ at Disneyland, only to find halfway through it turns into Schindler’s List.
Don’t really want to say more than that, other than this has all the Tyler ingredients – characters so real you can feel them, believable dialogue, nail-biting action, twists and turns, and of course the terrifying sense that all this really could happen as the roots of this dystopia are plain to see in our current culture.
Another winner and a great read yet again from Terry Tyler, which I have no hesitation recommending. Five stars across the board.
Available from Amazon UK