Cover Image: Firebreak


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Member Reviews

Thanks to NetGalley and Galley Books for an advanced readers copy in exchange for an honest review. 

4.5 stars

In the year 2134 two major corporations, Stellaxis and Greenleaf, each control half of the remaining 45 states of the USA that haven't been lost to rising waters.  

Mallory is a young woman who was orphaned as a child due to the fighting between the two companies.  Mal lives in a hotel room with eight other orphans and has multiple menial jobs.  Her main job streaming on Stellaxis' war game with her friend and roomie Jessa.  The two women meet one of the 12 super-soldiers in the game which leads to a job offer to find a missing child.  There is more the super soldiers than anyone expected. 

It took me a bit to get into the rhythm of the book and then I was hooked.  I liked Mal as a MC a great deal.  She is kind and generous even when she has almost nothing.   I love her willingness to fight for what is wrong and to help others.  There is a wonderful friendship between her and Jessa.  

The underlying theme of exploitations of the masses for profit and to control them is so relevant today.  Everyone in old town works to pay for water and food and it is impossible to get ahead.  It also helps to mask who the real enemies are.

Highly recommend Firebreak.  I will have to go back and read Nicole Kornher-Stace's other books.
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I would say it is more like Black Mirror than RP1. It has moments that will make you scratch your head and then go “what? What!!! Huh?”. Check it out.
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Netgalley provided me with an advance copy of this book, and I'm very happy they did.

If you're unfamiliar with Kornher-Stace's work to this point (the very excellent "The Archivist Wasp" and "Latchkey"), you'll love this book because it's the tale of a professional video game player (and dog walker) in a dystopian landscape of war and water rationing. Mallory (aka Nycorix in-game) chases through her virtual open world in search of sponsors who keep her feed in credits and water coupons. Dotted throughout the game are the analogs of real-life supersoldiers, grown in vats and waging war on behalf of the government. Catching up to them means guaranteed viewers, which means more in the bank.

Until she meets two of them in the flesh, and realizes that what she thought she knew isn't real at all.

If you're familiar with Wasp and Latchkey, you just gasped. With good reason. Oh, yes. :makes shooing motion: Go pre-order it.

It's an amazing and heart-wrenching story about exploitation, and how those who do the exploiting have a vested interest in keeping folks at one another's throats so they don't recognize who their actual enemies are - and how deep friendship is the key to building the kind of community that can oppose exploitation.

It's amazing, and you should read it.
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