What an incredibly intelligent and interesting read! The world building was well-developed and very believable for a possible future. A future completely controlled by corporations in which citizens are classified by how useful they are to the corporation they are tied to. A future where everyone's perceptions of the world they live in are closely monitored and manipulated by the ruling corporations. A future where the corporations are the ruling power; governments have been long since wiped out as inefficient. A future where everything, including the rainwater and the air are commodities that each citizen must pay for.
The protagonist, Charlie Thatcher, has been working for one of the ruling corporations as one of their perception manipulators. He is your Everyman, the one who goes to work, spending his days in a cubicle, trying to stay ahead of bills, etc. He has fully bought into the system until a small story of a woman accused of stealing (rain)water falls into his lap. This story, the inciting event, changes Charlie's world forever.
The characters feel wonderfully human. There are none that are flatly good nor flatly bad. They are all just doing what they believe is the right thing to do.
There are several factors I look at when I rate a book 5 stars. I found this book hard to put down, which is one of the primary factors. I also consider character development, world building and whether I feel there was some type of growth and/or change. This novel certainly fulfilled those criteria. It is, also, very well-written. The only reason, albeit a minor one, that I'm not giving a full 5-star rating is the editing could have been run through one more time. There are a few errors that made me have to stop and reread a sentence or two.
I received this book from the author through Smashwords for free. I thank the author for giving me the opportunity to read and review this.
I've had the same kind of conversation with some of my characters, though not quite as amusing as this fun short story. This was a wonderful story to read before bedtime.
I'd recommend this to anyone who writes fiction and to those who want to understand some of the angst writers go through.
Let me start with the disclaimer that I don't read these types of novels very often, so my review will be colored by my reading tastes, but I received this book from the author for free for an honest review.
In the beginning, I wasn't feeling any empathy for the MC. He was judgmental and difficult. I nearly gave up on the book, but decided to slog through a bit more, because the writing was fairly good for a first-time novelist. The author has a very decent grasp of language and style and there were very, very few editing errors...a pleasure after some of the first novels I've read recently.
The author has done a good job, IMO, of capturing the alienation and aimlessness that some teens and young adults feel once they graduate. In the MC's case, he had little guidance and tended to be very self-defeating. Mixed in with resentments and anxiety, we had the perfect olio for a coming-of-age story.
Lily has a secret she values over everything else in her life. Meeting Henry, an officer of the law, and a man that has been enthralled by her from a distance for quite some time, puts her and that secret at great risk. Should she risk getting closer to him and possibly lose everything, including her freedom, or should she stay true to her plans to find a safe haven?
The author has created an interesting Steampunk version of Victorian England, that felt gritty and oppressive, with fantastical mechanical devices, that made for a great background for the dilemma our main characters find themselves in. What Lily holds secret is considered dangerous by others and is illegal. As noted in one of my favorite lines, "...rules troubled the good and bad alike, little caring what reasons might put them under its weight." This theme is played throughout the story, while the potential lovers struggle with their feelings and what is right and wrong.
Lily is well drawn out, with strengths that felt realistic for her time period and situation. Henry, her male counterpart, brought a nice Yang balance to the story, without being developed as some super dominant hunk like those that have shown up in many Romance novels. The relationship between the two felt credible and I grew, quickly, to care what would become of them.
My favorite character was Sam. I don't wish to spoil any fun surprises that arise, so I will just add that she was really delightful.
I am looking forward to future stories in the world that the author has created. I, especially, want to read and learn more of the Naturals and mechanicals.
In compliance with FTC guidelines, I received this e-book for free from the author for an honest review.