Alright, so I’ve read yet another book with a dystopian future. Anyone surprised? There is a real power in writing about dystopian futures. It removes your writing from the emotional investment that the present holds. It also allows us to project and ask where our current course is taking us. This book’s future is full of working robot’s, government control, corporate corruption and displaced workers. The characters and the plot all move within the shadows where the assassins and the dark web hide.
This is a spy novel, mystery plot. Generally speaking, not my favorite style of story telling. My largest complaint with the genre is that they tend to be too focused on action without purpose. Didn’t feel that way with this book. The plot line was pretty straight forward and was classic for the genre. But there were no surprises in this book’s plot. If you are looking for a book to give you twists and to keep you guessing, this probably isn’t the book you’re looking for.
Largely, the book “spends it’s time” mostly with Jacob. It has a bit of the philosophy and character strolling in there along with that spy stuff. There is a lot of social criticism and questions regarding the direction our technology is heading in. The novel asks a lot of really good questions without force feeding you answers.
Jacob is an interesting main character. Jacob has Cotard’s Syndrome, a rare mental illness where the person believes they are dead or non-existent. It is also known as the negation of the self. The novel uses Cotard’s Syndrome metaphorically and as a vehicle for John Twelve Hawks to present his own ideas on the nature of humanity, rather than being an accurate description of the syndrome. The clever part about the character build is that John Twelve Hawks sets up the reader to be sympathetic to Jacob even though he is an assassin who is killing people without compassion. Jacob is presented as being “emotionless” but as the novel moves along more and more emotions are revealed. In the manner of all dystopian future novels, a waking occurs.
This was a beautiful read. One of those books that I picked up and really didn’t want to put down. And then I was upset when I got to the end and there wasn’t any thing left to read!