(I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a review).
(This review may contain spoilers).
Ideally, I’d give this book 4.5 stars. While I can’t quite give it 5… it was much better reading than I was expecting it to be and it was really easy to form emotional connections to most of the characters.
The world described in this book is particularly difficult to read about, but is actually something I could see happening in the distant future. The idea of Death Matches is an especially difficult one to deal with, considering that a new baby can’t be born unless someone else dies in this reality. While that might seem like an acceptable answer to overpopulation at the time, the problems that are made clear with it (people waiting years; Death Matches falling through; etc.) mean that it’s easy to see why the reality is falling apart.
The use of advertisements at various points in the book were particularly eerie and it was interesting to see the kinds of comments people made to the articles. What was even more intriguing were the censored comments. I felt that was a good way of leaving things to the readers’ imagination.
I found Michael Kelly to be a particularly interesting character. While I did have some sympathy for him, especially in regards to the moral difficulties he faced in his job, I couldn’t condone his actions. Even if he didn’t pull the trigger/s himself, he was definitely in the wrong… and it was good to see that he acknowledged and accepted that.
I found Benson to be a really well-rounded character. Although there was a big contrast between him as a child and him as a teenager, I felt that he was a believable person and I had a lot of sympathy for him. I didn’t know what to make of Harrison to begin with, but as the book progressed, I thought that he was concerned with doing the right thing.
There was a lot about this book that hit hard and although there were some awful characters involved, there were others who I believed in and wanted to see succeed. I felt a lot of sympathy for Janice and I would like to see more of her and Benson and Harrison in the next book, which I plan to read in the future.