The watchful Collective, and those who oppose it, form Safronoff’s futuristic tale of biological manipulation and the battle for individuality.
In a not-too-distant future, mankind has relegated much of its need for self-motivation to the all-knowing Collective. But all that could change, thanks to former Collective officer Eve and Joshua Falken, a man who could very well undermine the Collective’s power. Safronoff’s novel offers readers a glimpse into a world buried under the weight of its technological advances, such as GEaRS biotechnology that boosts the power of the human mind and body to inhuman levels. Technology such as the Desk, which functions similar to a computer, and Glass, the equivalent of an iPhone on steroids, form commonplace hardware in Safronoff's carefully constructed world—one in which the entire Eastern Seaboard sits under the watchful eye of the Spire, the Collective’s dark base of operations. The characters are often attributed simple titles that mark the importance of their roles, such as the unrelenting Leader. Like George Orwell’s seminal 1984, Safronoff’s tale delves into the question of personal freedom and takes it a step further. The novel owes plenty to other speculative science-fiction writers as well, particularly those of the glorious pulp era, such as Philip K. Dick’s pioneering tale Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?, where everyday people struggle to understand the deeper meaning of technology. First in a planned series, the novel’s weakness comes in the form of sterile characters, predictable delivery and action sequences reminiscent of the Matrix films; too often, in fact, the novel reads as if it were written to be a film. Those who enjoy hip reads of sublime, indifferent control, bucking the system and inspired technology will find exactly what they’re looking for in Safronoff’s debut.
Smartly written, cleverly paced, but wanting for passion.