Ahoy there me mateys! It be no secret that Sarah @ brainfluff likes to increase me ports for plunder list by exponentially high amounts. And thank goodness because her awesome review led me to this amazing read. She said:
This is the overarching theme of this book – what happens to the griefstricken when they can revisit events from their past, still have conversations with their dead partners and interact with them? The answer Sweterlitsch gives, is that there are some who are unable to move on – who spend all their time and resources stuck in the past. And Dominic is one of these lost souls…
In this book, the city of Pittsburgh was pulverized a decade before. But people can still visit the old city in the form of the Archive, a digital version of the city made up from the camera footage and saved memories of the doomed residents.
Dominic was out of town when he lost his wife and unborn child. He continuously spends time in the Archive reliving the past with his wife in 3-D. He works for an insurance company trying to confirm causes of death for claims by using the Archive. But when he discovers a dead body that someone was trying to hide, he is drawn into a large conspiracy.
One of the
hellish highlights of this book is the world building. It felt so real and yet so alarmingly scary. I would not want anyone to be able to access me own memories and follow me every move. I know surveillance is a current thing but the idea of people being able to interact with dead me is unsavoury. The data is not me. Creepy!
In this world sex and gratuitous violence to sell everything is the norm. It is disheartening to say the least. As Mogsy @ the bibliosanctum puts it:
Thomas Sweterlitsch has created a future where technology runs rampant. Everyone has an adware implant in their head and access to information is near ubiquitous. People have become wholly dependent on the computer chips in their brains, and the result is a dehumanized society with a strong sense of disenchantment and nihilism. Feeds run continuously in an endless stream, with up-to-the-second news updates. Grisly details of accidents or crime scenes are made public at the speed of an eye blink, along with the darker secrets of the victims’ lives. The society eats up their sex tapes as voraciously as they revel in the graphic violence.
Also how the author chooses to tell the story is hardly glamorous. Dominic is no dashing hero. The resolution of this tale surprised with how realistic it felt. The author stayed very true to his own world-building and it was both depressing and somehow glorious. The book is stark and left me feeling both unsettled by a reality I don’t want to live in and also engrossed by how well the author plotted the story. But above all I was very sympathetic to Dominic and truly wished him well. An odd book that is hard to recommend but that I am so glad I read. Arrrr!
Goodreads has this to say about the novel:
A decade has passed since the city of Pittsburgh was reduced to ash.
While the rest of the world has moved on, losing itself in the noise of a media-glutted future, survivor John Dominic Blaxton remains obsessed with the past. Grieving for his wife and unborn child who perished in the blast, Dominic relives his lost life by immersing in the Archive—a fully interactive digital reconstruction of Pittsburgh, accessible to anyone who wants to visit the places they remember and the people they loved.
Dominic investigates deaths recorded in the Archive to help close cases long since grown cold, but when he discovers glitches in the code surrounding a crime scene—the body of a beautiful woman abandoned in a muddy park that he’s convinced someone tried to delete from the Archive—his cycle of grief is shattered.
With nothing left to lose, Dominic tracks the murder through a web of deceit that takes him from the darkest corners of the Archive to the ruins of the city itself, leading him into the heart of a nightmare more horrific than anything he could have imagined.
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