Emotional subject matter but a little flat.
The book is set in a near-future New York where life expectancy is 300 years and immortality has become an obsession for "the genetically superior". It follows Lea, an organ trader, who has perfect genetic code, and Anja, a mysterious character who draws Lea into Suicide Club, an outlawed activist group fighting for people's right to live and die as they choose.
Oooh, sounds exciting? Dystopian futuristic world, moral dilemma with a hint of rebellion? Unfortunately the blurb is a lot more exciting than the actual book. It’s a commentary on our societal obsession with youth and eternal life, our relationships with our deteriorating bodies and our age-old fear of mortality. Artificial organs and life extending tech for the entitled, disdain and contempt for those who are not.
It’s a concept that we could find ourselves really facing and I thought that this would be an interesting examination; however, for me, it falls flat. The world building is interesting but never really delivers. I liked that it was futuristic but not all hover cars and gadgets; however, the author alludes to a lot but doesn’t explore the many interesting ideas such as the ‘third wave’ and immortality, what lies beyond New York, how do other societies co-exist?
Without an immersive world to draw you in you would expect a more character driven novel. I didn’t think it delivered on this front either. Lena, the lead character is a little bland; the author attempts to add depth to her with a back story which I found to be more interesting and wish could have been explored further. This, however, does little to enhance this character. Anja, another prominent character, was a little more interesting and added some emotion to the book and I think that is the saving grace.
This book is driven by emotion, and is a provocative and thoughtful read on a subject that is particularly prevalent at this time- the pressure to look good and the perceptions and repercussions if you don’t. Unfortunately the book does not really develop and the pacing is a little slow. The emotive subject matter is the driver and it is this that made me persevere to the end.
I think that the book suffers from not having a real villain, the concern over the Suicude Club is relatively apathetic and there is no real conflict or threat to keep you engaged. This results in an unsatisfactory and anti-climatic ending. Disappointed as the premise was interesting.
Many thanks to NetGalley for an ARC, in return for an honest review.