*I received a free ecopy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.*
From the very beginning I loved the feel of this book and the voice of the main character, Syl. She was gritty, raw, and rough around the edges, but not overly so. She just really came to life, and her voice stood out to me and felt so genuine. She’s had a tough life of living in sewers and fighting off giant half-human/half-bug creatures in order to hunt and scavenge for food, but her rough edges actually made her likeable.
Then there was Bastion.
I hear the insult behind her carefully concocted words: greedy whore.
I smile at her attempt to hurt me. It’s not an insult if it’s a fact.
“It’s not a party until there’s a double homicide, I suppose.”
Seriously, this guy.
Definitely the most intriguing and sassy android I’ve ever read about, and I loved it. And his voice was so different from Syl’s, providing a nice contrast.
Also, apparently I’ve been getting really bad about having expectations for books, but it has once again worked in my favor. I was expecting this book to be kind of instalove-y and typical romance-y, but instead the story itself was gritty and dirty (literally—lots of sewers and blood and filth), and it really only had a hint of romance in it. Yes, something about Syl compelled Bastion to help her, and Syd clearly felt something toward him too, but that’s about as far as it went. It was more like a setup for future romance because you can tell that there will be something between those two, but the focus was really on the androids, the society, the psychopathic leader, the experiments, etc.
Another great thing—I’m not usually a fan of detailed world building, but this was incredible! The settings, the backstory, the food, the creatures, the technology—there was so much thought put into everything, and it showed in all the little details, everything from the creepy way the Cull repeat words they hear to the hallucinogenic moss.
And of course I have to mention the amazing cover!
The ending pushed my suspension of disbelief a bit and conflicted with my personal beliefs, but it left a lot of interesting possibilities for the next book, which I’m looking forward to.
I hadn’t read anything this sci-fi (I mean, genetic engineering, androids, other planets, and a dystopian society) in a while, and I had never read anything classified as cyberpunk, but I am so glad I gave this book a read because the amazing world building, gritty story, and compelling character voices really pulled me in!
She struggles to feel human.
In 2256, the only remnants of civilization on Earth’s first colonized planet, Kepler, are the plant-covered buildings and the nocturnal, genetically spliced bug-people nesting within them: the Cull. During the day, Syl leaves her home in the sewers beneath Elite City to scavenge for food, but at night the Cull come looking for a meal of their own. Syl thought gene splicing died with the Android War a century ago. She thought the bugs could be exterminated, Elite city rebuilt, and the population replenished. She’s wrong.
Whoever engineered the Cull isn’t done playing God. Syl is abducted and tortured in horrific experiments which result in her own DNA being spliced, slowly turning her into one of the bugs. Now she must find a cure and stop the person responsible before every remaining man, woman, and child on Kepler is transformed into the abomination they fear.
He struggles not to.
For Bastion, being an android in the sex industry isn’t so bad. Clubbing beneath the streets of New Elite by day and seducing the rich by night isn’t an altogether undesirable occupation. But every day a new android cadaver appears in the slum gutters, and each caved in metal skull and heap of mangled wires whittles away at him.
Glitches—androids with empathy—are being murdered, their models discontinued and strung up as a warning. Show emotion, you die. Good thing Bastion can keep a secret, or he would be the next body lining the street.
He can almost live with hiding his emotions. That is, until a girl shows up in the slums—a human girl, who claims she was an experiment. And in New Elite, being a human is even worse than being a Glitch. Now Bastion must help the girl escape before he becomes victim to his too-human emotions, one way or another.
Book Author: Jadah McCoy
Publisher: Curiosity Quills Press
Series: The Kepler Chronicles
Genre: Cyberpunk, Dystopian, Genetic Engineering, Science Fiction
My Book Rating: 4
Series/Standalone: Part of a Series
Setting Location: Space/Other Planets