Cover Image: Sunlight 24

Sunlight 24

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Sunlight 24 by Merritt Graves. 
If the game wasn’t fair before, it’s definitely not fair now. Or so thinks Dorian Waters, part of the ever-expanding portion of humanity who can’t afford the nano-implant and genetic augmentation regimen known as Revision. And because he can’t afford Revision, he can’t get into college. He can’t get a job. And when he sees the brilliant and mesmerizing Lena for the first time, he knows he doesn’t have a chance with her, either.

Feeling thoroughly lost and exasperated, Dorian robs a house with his best friend, Ethan. Then they do it again. It’s thrilling and terrifying and deeply unsettling. But since they take so little each time that their targets don’t notice, they’re able to keep at it until they have enough money saved up.

Once they do their first Revision, their initial choices in self-enhancement start impacting their future choices, which in turn impact their future Revision––on and on in an increasingly surreal loop, transforming their personalities the entire away. Dorian desperately wants to slow things down and figure out the kind of person he really wants to be, but with the police one step behind them and a contentious relationship with his brother, Jaden, threatening to unravel everything, it’s the expedient choices that he’s finding himself more and more compelled to make.
A very good read with some likeable characters.  I liked the story.  4*.
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A genre that I’ve lately found intriguing is “near-future” fiction. It’s not always dystopian in nature, nor does it fall into the realm of sci-fi, or perhaps it does. Regardless, I like books that take an event or scenario happening currently and run it to its natural conclusion. If you think about it, that is basically what Orwell did with 1984, or was done in Brave New World. The authors viewed the effects of the Industrial Revolution and allowed their imagination to see the ultimate end-game: and they were too accurate for comfort. Sunlight 24, a young adult/new adult thriller, does exactly this using nanotechnology and gene splicing as well nootropic supplements and their effects on the human brain. 

Sunlight 24 is a fast paced, roller coaster ride and one heckuva a great read! Set in the near future, in a world where the climate and robots have completely altered the daily lives of humans, man has found ways of making themselves less redundant: Revision. Simply put, they are altering their DNA using gene therapy, nano-bots and nootropics to make themselves faster, stronger, and definitely smarter. The drawback is that only the most wealthy can afford these “revisions,” creating a world where the haves and have-nots are clearly separated with only the “haves” succeeding. Enter Dorian whose family is barely getting by and cannot afford revision. Without revision, Dorian cannot get into a good university and without a degree in Nano-technology, he will be shackled forever by his limitations. But, Dorian has a plan to steal from the wealthy in order to afford smaller increments of revision. Each revision influences his next choice of revision until, ultimately, he realizes he is losing a bit of his own self, what makes him Dorian. He also does not suspect that his brother, a psychopath, is doing the same revisions as Dorian, also funded by nefarious means. The ultimate conclusion is explosive – literally – as well an eye opening look at the monster we are creating.

Merritt Graves, author of the cult thriller “Lake of Mars,” has created a brilliant look at the future where genetic mutation and nootropics rule the day. As someone who already takes nootropic drugs, I found the ultimate conclusion of this book to be frightening as well as enlightening. In the end, I was questioning what we already are doing, what we could do and what will remain of our own humanity when we do. If this sounds confusing, it isn’t really. Graves is a masterful story teller and, although the tale became a little over the top toward the end, Graves deftly keeps the story on track to its horrifying conclusion.

Admittedly, the book is a little too long and could use a good bit of editing. There were times when I felt parts of the story weren’t necessary to the overall story-line. It also helps to remember that this is told from a high-schooler’s point of view because it is a young adult thriller. As such, you aren’t going to get the thoughts and concerns of the parents, teachers, scientists, etc. This is, ultimately, Dorian’s story and is told from his point of view only. That didn’t diminish my enjoyment of the book in the least and I heartily recommend it for those who enjoy this type of genre.

Thank you to #Netgalley #merrittgraves for my copy of Sunlight 24.
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**I would like to thank the publisher and NetGalley for providing me with an advance copy of this novel in exchange for an honest review**

I was hooked when I first read the blurb for Sunlight 24. The idea seemed so original that I just had to read this book to find out more. And it started good. At the beginning, I would’ve rated this book a 4, and if I didn’t have to finish it, that’s what it would’ve gotten. Unfortunately though, by the middle of the book it was down to a 3 and then after the ending, well, you see where it lands.

So what didn’t work for me? My expectations for this one were for an original sci-fi story that could examine the repercussions of a class system. An examination that would, as all good sci-fi does, shine a light on our modern society. What I got was sci-fi lite. What I got was more of a YA book about whiny, privileged teenagers. I wanted to be shown more of the fascinating world Merritt Graves created. You know, the wide world beyond high school walls.

But right to the end, the reader is never shown this. We see nothing beyond the bland existence of a main character who lusts after a girl and uses genetic revisions and nano-implants to somehow be worthy of her. It serves as a weak storyline that portrays one of a very few female characters in a shallow light. And then there’s the antagonist for our angst-ridden MC who adds no depth to the tale at all. We’re told he’s a psychopath and that’s why he does everything he does. It’s too easy, and this reader would’ve appreciated more reason. 

I wanted to like this book for its original concept. But in the end, what could’ve been revelatory descended into just more of the same.

2 stars.
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I did not enjoy this book so I am unable to review.  Thank you.

While others may enjoy this, I am leaving 3 stars because I believe that writing a book is a worthy effort and even though it was not my cup of tea does not mean that someone else would not like it.
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This is an action-packed take of teenage a fast, set in the future. This book will take your for a ride through the struggles of power, of first times and the emerging technologies within their time period. There must come a time where you must make a choice....will Dorian make the right choice or will everything come undone? 

This book was given to me by Net Galley in e change for and honest review.
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Sunlight 24 tells the story of Dorian, who belongs to the underclass who can’t afford to Revise – permanently change parts of their body and mind to become more relevant to a society mostly made by AI. So when he starts robbing houses to get the money he needs it spirals a catch-22 situation that will change his life forever.

I found Sunlight 24 quite hard to review, on one hand I liked the dystopian future aspect. I liked the idea of having to have money to improve yourself and this creating two different classes of people. I liked the character of Dorian and his friends and I liked the progression of the story.

I think my main problem with it was kind of the lack of context. I wanted to understand more about what Revision entailed, how it worked and a little bit more about the wider world outside of the two schools mentioned. We get glimpses of it with the police involvement and the talk about the climate and their parent’s jobs but it isn’t enough to sufficiently build the world in your mind. I find that good sci fi works when there is an element of truth about it which is pushed to its extreme – like 1984 with governmental surveillance. Sunlight 24 was interesting in the way that machines had taken over most of the jobs and humans were trying to enhance themselves to keep relevant but the actual gene manipulation and the more sinister aspects of this are very far removed from our world in general. I think it would have had more of an impact if the style of writing and narration had changed each time Dorian is revised but I felt that it just seemed like he was the same character throughout, even with the enhanced mental processing.

The story itself is also very long – there is a lot in here that a good edit would easily sort out and there was too much discussion of philosophers that I’d never heard of and didn’t seem terribly relevant to the plot. Some of the characters also seemed too one-dimensional – his brother Jaden just seemed to be the epitome of evil rather than well-rounded. The love interest was also a bit wooden which was a shame as she’s the only female character in the book.

Overall I think Sunlight 24 is an interesting concept but badly in need of an edit to shape into something a little more interesting and hard hitting. Thank you to NetGalley for a copy of the ARC in exchange for an honest review.
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Thankyou to NetGalley and the author, Merritt Graves, for the opportunity to read an advanced readers copy of Sunlight 24 in exchange for an honest and unbiased review.
I was initially drawn to this book by the premise of the story.  I found it intriguing. 
The storyline was well thought out and fast paced. It was a rollercoaster ride that held my interest from start to finish. 
Well worth a read.
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The Catcher in the Rye meets A Simple Plan in this winding tale of teenage angst gone so, so wrong. 

Haven't we always felt out of place, like we're swimming along just trying to keep our heads above water? Someone else always has it better than we do. It's a constant struggle to try and keep up, to even be on the same curve as the rest of the pack.

That's the concept that plagues Dorian, Ethan, and Dorian's brother Jaden. Jaden needs to revise so that he can avoid the black mark of being labeled mentally unstable; Dorian knows he has to Revise if he ever wants a paying job, and Ethan...I think Ethan just dgaf. 

Dorian and Ethan think they have the perfect setup. They'll rob a few houses, not enough to be noticed, and Revise. They can help Jaden Revise. Dorian will be able to get into a good college and finally get a job. He won't be living off public assistance, being paid scraps to monitor machines do work. And, perhaps most importantly, he'll finally be able to talk to Lena - the beautiful Revised girl from the nearby private school who stole his heart so much he built a robot to spy on her. 

" just don't get how good works. You need power to be heroic, but there's no way to get it if you're shackled. So, you have to start as the villain, grab the power, and then put the shackles on."

This is a really cool concept and watching Dorian and Jaden spar and spin deeper and deeper into the web they can't stop spinning was very interesting. There's a horrible tension that builds throughout the book and culminates in a devastating crescendo that will leave more than one person dead. The technology, especially the science of Revision, is also so well-thought out and planned that it's scarily believable. 

"If full immersion virtual reality can make you a God in a fake world that you wish was real, who cares about improving yourself in a real world you wish was fake?"

It also waxes a little bit too long. There's a lot of action and also a lot of discussion about the ethics of Revision, the meaning of life, whether or not you can Revise too much. And at what point is whatever you're revising taking over who you really are? It's good talk, it just went on for a long time and I think it could have been pared down a bit.

If you're down for slogging through some philosophy and also feeling sad as h*ck, and enjoy novels about the dystopia of high school and your teenage years, give Sunlight 24 a try when it comes out next week.
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This was one roller-coaster ride of a book! Set in the near future, it tells of a society that has all the technological advances we might imagine--including drones, robots, and even medical Revisions which will enhance your body and psyche. But of course only the very rich can afford these Revisions so there's a clear line between the wealthy and the middle class. Enter Dorian, the main character and his brother, Jaden (whom we know is a psychopath but can't afford a Revision). Dorian and friend Ethan have been robbing houses and taking a little here and there to be able to get their own Revisions. And of course it's relatively easy for teens to case the houses with drone activity and social media announcements about where and when residents will vacation. Things get dicey when the police discover the robberies and Dorian suspects others of committing the crimes as well. Plus there's a romance in store for Dorian. While the technological details got a little too much for me, that's probably because I'm old. But if you want a fast-paced, dynamic sci-fi adventure, this one is for you!
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Very good - the arms race of technology encapsulated in the febrile minds of teenagers. Aren't they all sociopaths?
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This ARC was provided by the publisher and NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Sunlight 24 follows Dorian Waters, whose makes expedient decisions to reach the same level as the Revised people, and then to keep himself several steps ahead to evade the police and his brother's unknown agenda.

Graves' last book, Lakes of Mars, was an absolute delight to read and I was expecting the same with this one. I was not disappointed.

I read this book over the span of a couple of weeks due to being busy with other matters, and yet not once did I feel as if the pace had slowed or that it could use some work. I feel that the best way to organise this review is to list the things I enjoyed and the few points that I thought could have been done a bit better.

Here's what I enjoyed:

1. The writing is the perfect style that I adored in Lakes of Mars. There are no info-dumps, no two-sentence conversations interrupted by long passages of description or anything really that could distract or jar the reader. Everything is seamlessly integrated. Once again, despite the story being told from only one perspective, the reader is as familiar with the side characters as the protagonist is. Dorian's observations about his friends and about himself never feel strange or self-absorbed. In fact, I find that this sort of introspection and observation is very realistic in the way it reflects the thought process of many adults and near-adults nowadays. The theme of discovering oneself and coming to terms with one's desires and goals is prevalent throughout this book and is one of the things I loved the most. There is a long scene of Dorian trying to escape and I found myself reading each word with anticipation and nervousness, the action in this book is perfectly written.

2. The setting is near future and the way that technology and its interaction with/role in the lives of human beings is depicted is well executed. I really liked the scientific explanations of the Revision process, they were well thought-out and perfectly developed to justify the kind of obsession they triggered in humans.

3. The characters were very well-developed. I did like the protagonist and his relationship with his friends but. most of all, I loved his relationship with his brother. Jaden is a quietly terrifying character and a well-written one at that. His interactions with the protagonist were my favourite and I especially enjoyed the almost Monster-esque (Naoki Urasawa's manga) dilemma that Dorian faces near the end of the book. I won't spoil this part but let's just say that I loved it.

Here are a few things that I think could have been executed better:

1. Dorian's reaction to something that happens to Jaden. In my opinion, Dorian was not shocked enough by it.

2. Dorian's fixation with Lena. I think the romance aspect was handled somewhat better in this book than it was in Lakes of Mars, as Dorian actually knew a little about Lena and her personality. However, I do think it could have been done even better than this.

3. The ending is a perfect cliffhanger but also a great conclusion. I have an inkling about what Jaden's plan was but I wish the ending had told us a bit more about it. Lastly, Dorian's final decision about Revision was very intriguing and, once again, I hope there's a continuation of this series to show us what happens after the ending. 

Overall, this was a great read. Merritt Graves is quickly becoming one of my favourite authors and definitely someone to look out for, especially in these genres!

Rating (out of 5): ⭐⭐⭐⭐
Short review on Litsy

Book is not available in Litsy's catalogue.
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Alright, first of all, I've got to say again that I enjoyed the writing just like I did when I read Lakes of Mars. The words seem to flow very naturally and smoothly, and I never catch myself thinking about how I'd put a sentence differently. This is very important for me, since there are many books that readers raved about on Goodreads that I just could not finish because of how artificial the dialogues and writing itself was.
However, I had a hard time identifying with the main character, who chose a life of a thief to achieve the same level of Revision as the rich in the world of Sunlight 24. I didn't grow up in the best conditions, and even being poor I had things stolen from me rather than resorting to theft myself. However, at the same time, I agree that people are different, any many of us would do the same as the main character. 
The idea of Revision is quite interesting itself, and I would say not that far fetches with the pace that modern technology has picked now. I would Revise and changed a lot of things about myself if I could.. But at the same time the book touches upon the topic of personal identity. Wouldn't Revising change who we actually are? Do you really want to be just like everybody else? 
I love the book, seriously. The 4 stars are only because most pulse-racing action is reserve in the last 40% of the book, so I had to push myself a little to read it at first, which wasn't that hard, considering the writing is good:)
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I wanted to like this book a bit more than I did but felt that it could have used a bit more editing for continuity and conciseness of content. 

First, what I liked:  This book did a great job of boldly portraying the harsh navigation of Interpersonal relationships in a world of such disparity. The intersect of classism and futuristic themes was flawless. I found the futuristic components, including same-day gene editing, effortless spying, consistent access to knowledge, etc unnervingly relevant to today. I also appreciated the details of elements that will be found in the world of the future (sophisticated and wholly immersive VR, advanced drones etc).  These were seamlessly placed - made to feel so day to day I was entirely immersed in the setting.   I also appreciated the main character who, although flawed, was also altruistic and wholesome with spiky edges of twisty, Robin Hood-esque morals.

I struggled a bit with the story itself, which at times stalled out and became more a chore than an engaging read. At times, the storyline felt drawn out, and unnecessarily so. At others, the story felt like two different plot lines that didn’t quite speak to each other.  

Despite the criticism, I still look forward to what this author can accomplish.
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