Cover Image: Golden State

Golden State

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Member Reviews

This is a dystopian novel, the protagonist comes from a family of Law enforcement and where law is the most valued truth, he resides in The Golden State, a nation resembling California, where like-minded Americans retreated after the erosion of truth and the spread of lies made public life, and governance, increasingly impossible.
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Unfortunately I read this book a while ago and seem to have missed it when writing reviews. - sadly I cant remember enough detail to give a full review.
However, thanks to NetGalley for the ARC :-)
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I love a good dystopian read and found myself not disappointed with this. I loved Part 1 and honesty could have just read a whole book based on solving truth crimes and would have been very happy. Part 2 was a little wacky and seemed to be off tangent to part 1 but this was fixed with Part 3. Part 3 brought it all together and give me a good solid ending.  I would say that Part 3 felt a little rushed and could have been longer with more time spent in the various places but overall this book was very satisfying.
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I like dystopian novels but unfortunately despite the promise of an intriguing story I was unable to engage with the book.
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I couldn't get very far into this book, unfortunately. I never really got in to it (too quirky for me, which is saing something as I'm normally a sucker for dystopian novels).
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This started off very well, with an interesting idea and it was fairly easy to pick up on the world-building.  As I read it, I thought it would be really fascinating, and that by the end I would love it.  But when I reached that point, I felt that the ending rather let the earlier parts of the book down.  There was interest, but it didn't seem to pack any punch.
Most of the book was very good, although sometimes I wasn't sure whether it was a murder mystery or a more complex dystopian novel.  It felt like such a great idea, that could have been tweaked a bit and then it would have been an excellent book, which was a bit of a shame.
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I’m a society of extreme monitoring and suggestive privacy invasion, this novel plays with the ‘theme’ of 1984 in our modern society. Brilliant pace and an excellent concept
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A universe where any lies, even white ones, are against the law. No thanks! Even those lies which protect your loved ones (of course your hair looks great) are illegal. The police know when you're lying as well, so there's no hiding. This dystopian novel does what dystopians do and exposes our protagonist to the truth. This book will keep you confused and in the dark in the best way possible! It can be a bit slow at points but I still really enjoyed it and am grateful to NetGalley for allowing me to read a copy.
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A world where all lies, even teensy little fibs are a crime and there are law enforcement agents that KNOW when you are lying. As far as dystopian worlds go I'll take zombies thank you very much! 

This novel goes straight to letting us know what a crazy world this is. Even a lie that protects someone is punishable. In this world Lazlo Ratesic has spent 19 years believing in the truth, having total faith in The Golden State. But a new partner and series of events challenge his faith in the system he has dedicated his life to.

I spent the second half of this book scratching my head, wondering what the hell was going on. Fantastic! As long as it's not ridiculous I love stories that are implicit in what is happening and where they are heading. It does slow down a bit too much at times so not quite a five star novel for me, but a very highly rated 4 stars.
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This book is about an alternate state that sees that society values truth and law above everything else. I had a feeling it was a bit like 1984 but I didn’t enjoy it as much. 

The alternate society really focuses on the truth and there are cameras watching everything that is happening in people’s lives. Lazlo Ratesic is a long-term veteran for the Speculative Service however his life is about to change following what he believes is a cover up of something that runs deep.
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It’s quite scary how much closer we are to a 1984 society. This book gives the concept a modern revamp. While it’s far to say that it’s more of a homage than an original work of fiction, it is well written, engaging and something I would recommend alongside 2018’s Vox.
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A brilliant story of truths, untruths and the moral confusions between. I loved this book! Well written and absorbing.
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To begin with I enjoyed the dystopian focus of the book but unfortunately I lost interest and found that it dragged. The narration was quite confused too and went off on random tangents sometimes.
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In a world full of 'fake news' the Golden State in Winters' novel can seem like a utopia. The Golden State of the title is, obviously to us, California and the book is set after some kind of catastrophic event - as far as the people of the Golden State are concerned they live in the last inhabitable place left. Their survival is attributed to the fact that they adhere to the truth. At all times. In fact, more than that, they keep records of everything so that everyone agrees on what is real and true - they refer to it as the 'Objectively So'. This situation is monitored by cameras, which are pretty much everywhere, and policed, in part, by the Speculative Service. They are the only people who are permitted to, well, speculate (since speculation is the act of considering and rejecting things which may not have really happened) and they can tell when people lie. Laszlo Ratesic is from a family who have worked and died for the service but his latest investigation, and his unwelcome new partner, will make him doubt himself, the service and even the truth itself.

This book is not just a fascinating blend of science fiction and Chandleresque hardboiled crime but also a look at what could happen if we try to replace our current world of 'fake news' with a benevolent dictatorship based on narrow focussed view of what the truth is. Let's face it, any world where the truth is written in stone but works of fiction are banned doesn't sound like much of an improvement to me.
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This isn’t a genre I usually read but I was intrigued by the synopsis. I’m glad I read something out of my comfort zone as I really enjoyed the story and ate up the pages and plot as if it was my usual crime/thriller.  The characters are well rounded and the dystopian world is very subtly introduced so as to make it accessible to the uninitiated reader. A great piece of writing
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I quite liked this book – it was proper old-fashioned science fiction along the lines of Philip K. Dick and reminded me very much of Minority Report. The story centered around Lazlo Ratesic, a citizen of the Golden State and member of the Speculative Service whose job it was to enforce the Objectively So: the criminal offense of lying. The upholding of the truth requires Lazlo’s special sixth sense combined with the constant surveillance of all Golden State citizens but absolute power corrupts absolutely and when he stumbles across previously unknown truths, his reality unravels.

I really enjoyed the Big Brother overtones within the novel and it was interesting to read from the point of view of the enforcers, not the average dissenting citizen. The world building was great, very cohesive for such a bold idea and held together well. I enjoyed the questions that the book raised around morality – is it possible to be completely honest all of the time? Is freedom always such a good thing or should we appreciate the use of CCTV etc. as a protectionist measure? However, as the book went on it became a bit absurd, then a lot absurd, then descended into an ending that came so far out of left field that it could have belonged to another novel entirely. Still, I enjoyed the majority of the book very much so I gave it 3.5 stars
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This was a very strange, Dystopian story. It is based in what was once California but is now a new world, where the biggest crime is to lie. There are various controls on peoples lives, cameras everywhere, everyone has to keep a diary and these are stored when a person dies. Anything from the old world is forbidden. and there are police who detect when people lie. I had up and down feelings about this one and at times it seemed almost childish.  Certainly an interesting concept.
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I really loved this book right up until the final section, when it seemed to lose its way. 

Wonderfully different and refreshing in a genre that's at risk of being done to death, "Golden State" tells of a world not too dissimilar to our own where lying is punishable by imprisonment or even exile and Speculators can sense a lie and track it down to its source. 

Into this world comes a murder mystery with multiple layers and plenty to keep you guessing until the Big Reveal. The problem that I had with the end (without giving away spoilers) is that it built up to a particular ending and then suddenly veered off on a tangent, presumably for the shock twist, which wasn't necessary and took away from the more political/philosophical aspects of what went before.

I'd rate this as a 3.5 rounded up to 4 because I really did thoroughly enjoy most of the book. Had the ending been different, this would have been an undoubted 5.

Thanks to Netgalley for the ARC without obligation.
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Ben Winters is an inventive and talented writer, capable of creating the most detailed and believable speculative fiction. Like his previous novel Underground Airplanes, Golden State presents a world similar enough to our own to be completely credible, but different enough to jar the reader's perspective. It's a world in which lying has been all but eliminated and honesty prevails - a Golden State, right? But also a deeply unsettling, creepy background against which Winters sets his fast-paced, compelling detective story. It's a fantastic read, without a doubt one of the best books of 2019.
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We are in the Golden State, where everyone speaks the truth, records their daily activities, and are monitored everywhere.  

But this is a good thing, because we tell each other facts as a form of greeting.  There are Speculators, those with the power to sense a lie, and Lazlo Ratesic is one of these.  He's been a Speculator for 10 years, and always worked alone.

Until today, when he is assigned Aysa Paige to mentor.  She has an even greater gift for lies.  She can sense when objects are wrong or missing, and this skill helps with the case that they are sent out on.

This was a very well crafted world, where all of this monitoring is justified at all times, and talked about in such a positive way that you can see the brain washing that has been carried out on the inhabitants of the Golden State, which is set in California.

This is a post apocalyptic tale, with you only finding out this at the very end of the book, but isn't something that impacts the tale.

I really enjoyed this book, and would thoroughly recommend it.  It would be classified as sci-fi for the lie detection powers, and because it's post apocalyptic.

Golden State is out now, and is available on Amazon, and everywhere else you can find books!  It was published on 24th January this year.

I was given this book for free in return for an unbiased review, so my thanks to NetGalley and to Random House, and Cornerstone (the publishers) for this book.

Check out my GoodReads profile to see more reviews!
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