GlazeWritten by Kim Curran
(Jurassic London - May 10th, 2014)Genres: Dystopia, Science Fiction
Format: eARC (293 pages)
Source: Author or Agent
Petri Quinn is counting down the days till she turns 16 and can get on GLAZE – the ultimate social network that is bringing the whole world together into one global family. But when a peaceful government protest turns into a full-blown riot with Petri shouldering the blame, she’s handed a ban. Her life is over before it’s even started.
Desperate to be a part of the hooked-up society, Petri finds an underground hacker group and gets a black market chip fitted. But this chip has a problem: it has no filter and no off switch. Petri can see everything happening on GLAZE, all the time. Including things she was never meant to see.
As her life is plunged into danger, Petri is faced with a choice. Join GLAZE… or destroy it.
I occasionally participate in a book club here in London with some lovely ladies, and I was lucky enough to receive a free copy of this book as a member of this book club. I usually don’t read self-published works. It’s not that I have anything against such work, it’s just that I usually have eight million novels I already want to read that are traditionally published so I don’t really allow anything else in (otherwise I’d drown)! But I decided to take a chance on this one so I could join along with the book club discussion, and ended up being disappointed.
The biggest issue I have with this book is that it is completely unforgettable. This is one of those books that left me entirely indifferent about what was going on. The characters didn’t make me invest in them. The story line didn’t hook me in. I just sort of read it, detached and unmoved, from the beginning until the very end.
It’s a shame, because I think if done right this book could be extremely popular due to its contemporary concept. It’s very relevant to the here and now, pulling in from everyone’s desire to be constantly plugged in and on social media. In the story, everyone can access the world of information available online in a blink of an eye, sort of live through social media, and it’s a concept that’s fun to think about. I appreciated how the author played with social media and the power (and abuse of power) it could lead to, and it’s one of the things that I could see readers really liking about this book.
Though I must say, I also think this book’s current relevance to today sort of hurt it as well. It’s sort of hard to explain. Over at YA Yeah Yeah, Kim did a joint interview about hybrid publishing with other authors and she admitted that part of the reason she was pushed to go with self-publishing for this book was because what’s happening in the book is relevant now, and if she were to utilize the traditional route it might not make an appearance for eighteen months (at which point it’s relevance would drop). And I think that’s true. A lot of what is in the book sort of already is real in the story, and so it loses the wonder and excitement than one has reading other science fiction stories when the ideas seem so outrageous and out-of-this-world.
If the technology in the story doesn’t seem too far-fetched because it is almost already happening in the world today, what pulls you into the story and makes you go “ooh, how exciting”? The plot? Maybe the characters? Unfortunately, neither of those really did it for me. The plot felt like a jumble of all the other sci fi dystopian stories I’ve ever read before (especially Divergent). I didn’t understand any of the characters or their choices, and found all of the relationships in the story to be disappointing in one way or another (the love interest wasn’t annoying, the relationship between the MC and her mom was aggravating, the MC’s lack of concern about other characters was disturbing). As someone who loves to read these types of stories regularly, I just found myself bored by this story and unconnected to it all. (I guess that’s the nice thing about it being a standalone though. It’s not spread out between multiple books so you can just stop if you don’t like it!)
If you don’t normally read a lot of dystopian or science fiction novels and want to try something that will make you think about the use of social media in the world and how the current technological developments might impact society, I’d say it’s worth a go. But if you’re familiar with these genres already and are constantly looking for something new and exciting, this probably won’t be the best pick for you.