Book Review: Killing Adam by Earik Beann

This is a book review for Rosie’s Book Review Team.

Killing Adam is a science-fiction dystopian novel by Earik Beann.

It is set in a futuristic world in which people are controlled by Altered Reality Chips. ARCS are implants placed behind the ear which allow people to go online for long periods of time and forget the banality of real life. However, behind this technological marvel is a computer singularity – Adam. Adam controls and lives within every brain and monitors every aspect of society, and he must be stopped.

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Killing Adam is a standard but enjoyable piece of science-fiction that fits into the science-fiction and dystopian genres well.

Earik Beann’s creative imagining of what futuristic technology may look like was interesting –  particularly his idea that characters use these ARCs to, quite literally, escape reality.  It was sad that they constantly and willingly plugged themselves into alternate worlds, creating fictions for themselves,leaving their families behind and causing face-to-face relationships to crumble away.

The main character of Killing Adam is Jimmy Mahoney, a fairly ordinary man, who suffers as an outsider in this new futuristic world. Due to a brain injury, Jimmy’s body is unable to accept an ARC. Subsequently, he is excluded from the fantastical online realities that everyone else experiences. However, this means he is not under the mind-controlling influence of Adam. This means Jimmy has a chance. Adam could be destroyed.

For me, it was slightly difficult to understand exactly what or who Adam is. The book describes him as a singularity, which – I think – means he is a form of computerised consciousness. I could be wrong though – I struggled to fully understand the explanations the book provided.

Although I may not understand Adam, his character was fascinating. Adam is a powerful antagonist who uses mind manipulation and cruel, callous language to get what he wants. I thought the characterisation of Adam was particularly impressive, in light of the fact he only ever communicates through other characters’ thoughts and yet I still had a firm impression of Adam’s attitudes and personality traits.

The ending to Killing Adam was fairly standard; it tidies some loose ends but leaves room for a possible sequel, should Earik Beann decide to turn this into a series.

Killing Adam was an enjoyable science-fiction read.

Star Rating: 3.5/5 Stars

Killing Adam is available to buy as an e-book or paperback from Amazon.co.uk or Amazon.com.

– Judith

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Book Review: The Spectacular Vision of Oskar Dunkelblick by Hattie Holden-Edmonds

This is part of a blog tour with Red Door Publishing.

The Spectacular Vision of Oskar Dunkelblick is the second novel written by Hattie Holden-Edmonds.

Oskar is the ultimate teenage loner who thrives on painting other people’s misery. However, after a ‘not-so-routine’ eye test, his bleak perspective is transformed after trying on a pair of very unusual lenses. The world he sees is filled with beautiful colours, happiness, and wonder – not what Oskar wants at all.

The story is original and interesting, and I enjoyed the wry tone Hattie uses.

As the title would suggest, the book centres on Oskar Dunkelblick. Hattie does a great job at making him the focus of the novel, as his character is incredibly interesting and detailed.

Oskar is quite a remarkable person; he enjoys tragedies, misery, is fascinated by diseases and is generally an oddball. He reminded me of Alex from Anthony Burgess’ novel A Clockwork Orange, and though he might be cruel at times, I couldn’t help but be drawn to Oskar’s personality.

The magical and psychological elements of the narrative were okay, if a little lost on me, and personally, the idea of seeing the continuous beauty within life came across slightly little wishy-washy, but that’s personal preference.

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Image via www.hattieholdenedmonds.com

I thought the front cover is creative and fun, and its focus on the eyes may be another unintentional stylistic similarity to A Clockwork Orange.  

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Image via www.penguinsciencefiction.org

I really enjoyed the flashbacks to Oskar’s past – they were well integrated into the narrative and the scenes recounting how he controlled and altered the life of his ex-friend Franz were some of my favourite parts. The flashbacks helped demonstrate how Oskar’s prickly personality has been formed by a tragic upbringing and past relationships.

However, despite these sadder scenes, The Spectacular Vision of Oskar Dunkelblick is definitely less bleak than A Clockwork Orange. The ending was surprisingly happy, and Hattie even includes a small, sweet, love story.

I’m curious to learn why the book was set in Germany with German characters – it certainly made a change from typical young adult fiction which always tends to take place in an English or American setting. If you know why it was set in Germany, do let me know!

Star Rating: 4/5 stars

The Spectacular Vision of Oskar Dunkelblick is available to buy as a paperback from Amazon UK.

– Judith

Book Review: One Of Us Is Lying

Five students go to detention. Only four leave alive.

One Of Us Is Lying by Karen McManus is a young adult murder mystery.  I’ve seen quite a few blog posts about this book so, for once, I followed the hype and asked for it for my birthday. I liked it.

One Of Us Is Lying is a fun teen drama that isn’t too cliché, despite its focus on teenage stereotypes and high school. The writing is self-aware and calls attention to its stereotyped characters: the geek, the jock, the criminal, and the princess.

The book adopts the point of view of all 4 suspected characters: Bronwyn, Cooper, Nate, and Addy. This allows you to get to know their personalities quite well, and understand their thoughts, and I thought all 4 of them were fairly likeable.

The author uses the phrase ‘more unique’ – a phrase that makes no sense and I can’t stand.

There were also some slightly forced references to popular youth culture such as Snapchat, Netflix, and Tumblr which, to me, felt like the author was trying a little too hard to be #relatable for the kids, but these aren’t huge criticisms.

The characters’ secrets were fun to find out, and it was interesting to read through and guess who was responsible.

I did work this out just before the “big reveal”, but the climax of the book seemed a little too rushed; I would have preferred more action/suspense once the characters worked out who the culprit was, but it concluded quite quickly afterwards.

All in all, One Of Us Is Lying was an enjoyable teen murder mystery, and a well-written debut novel.

– Judith