A techno-thriller of liberation
by Cullen Scott
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Pub Date 22 Apr 2023 | Archive Date 22 Oct 2022
To change the world, first they have to find each other.
Like the Bible says, an eye for an eye… To prevent the world from descending into the chaos of terrorism, scientists and governments devised a foolproof deterrent: if you cause a death, you too will die when your NAC, your neuro-activated chip, bursts inside your skull. Quick, painless, and simple—it works. Every time. No one now dares risk taking a life.
The politicians say they have saved the world, creating a perfect global society where everyone can feel safe and secure.
Unless, that is, you’re deemed a threat to this perfect order…
Despite efforts to conform, Talon and Sofia are removed from high school and ripped from their lives in Ridge Crest. The lifelong friends find themselves alone and in separate and alien environments where they feel discarded, distrusted, and despised.
Talon is enslaved in a labor camp where the warden wants him dead. And while Talon tries to figure out the source of this wrath, he also needs to survive the punishing work, the harsh sun, and the suicide-killer stalking him day and night if he's to keep the promise he made to Sofia—to stay alive. At the Technology Lab, Sofia is determined to find out the location of the remote center where Talon is interred and hopes the notorious “Shadow,” whose mere proximity brings danger, really does want to help her escape and connect with the disconnects.
Meanwhile, the head of the NAC Program, General Stafford, knows it’s time to deal with the increasing threat of the disconnects, who have managed to escape the law of kill and be killed. He’ll need the help of Sofia and Talon to achieve his goal. But that doesn’t mean he needs them alive.
A sci-fi thriller-adventure set in the near future, STUNG posits today’s question of whether security or freedom is more important to society and how the next generation either bends to society’s will or fights to sow the seeds of change. Suitable for young adults (14+ years) and adults who enjoy stories of enduring friendship and loyalty at their heart.
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Average rating from 9 members
this was a really interesting concept, it did what I was hoping for and was invested in what was happening. I had never heard of the genre of techno-thriller of liberation but I'm glad I was able to read this. The characters worked really well and the concept is terrifying and works great. I look forward to reading more from Cullen Scott.
"Drake knew Talon was well aware of the guardianship program. Every kid on the playground teased each other about becoming one of Peter Pan’s Lost Boys—stuck with a guardian forever, never being allowed to grow up. He remembered Talon taking it hard when his friends told him he would end up “a toddler for life.”
I found certain elements of this book quite unsettling, and I am not even a parent.
The book follows a number of characters; Tallon, Shadow, and Sofia being the main ones, each character tells the story in their own chapters. It follows a world where everyone born has a chip implanted in their heads, and if they kill another person then they too die via this chip. It has stopped murder, but not everyone wants their chips turned on at 16, and many run off to live off grid. This story follows Tallon and Sofia, who are about to have their chips turned on, and how their lives begin to spin wildly out of control.
There are elements of this I hated, which unsettled me I should say, and the fact you are taking free control away from people at 16, not to mention having to live with certain consequences if things out of your own control happen, horrifying. It is a dystopian world without even knowing it is one. To take people's free will away, to discriminate a group who want to be able to make their own choices, and of course can you really trust anyone who puts a chip in your head?
This is a great book, one that has you digging your toes into the carpet and clenching your jaw without even realising it. A must read and a hope for a another book to come.