Book reviews: Amped and No Humans Involved

Amped, by Daniel H. Wilson

This is a tale about discrimination. It’s futuristic and pseudo-apocalyptic, but at the heart of it, it’s about people who are different and the people who are scared of them.

“Amps” are people who have been implanted with upgrades, turning them into super-smart, super-strong individuals. The implants meld entirely with the brain, meaning there becomes a questions as to where the person ends and the machine begins – and what this means for their humanity. Amps begin to lose their human rights, planting the seeds of civil war into the United States. Teacher Owen Gray, son of the implanter of these devices and an amp himself, finds himself in the crosshairs of this deadly revolution.

While I really liked the concept of the story, particularly the aspect of humanity and what makes us human (presumably, not trying to destroy other people because they are different), I found that overall the book left me with a big meh. My major problem is how rushed it was. Wilson creates this giant, fascinating world different but the same from ours, but does so with broad brushstrokes and left me feeling as though I was missing something. The action travels at a furious pace, but the character development was missing.

Maybe I’m just getting way too used to apocalyptic serials, but I felt this would have been a truly excellent beginning of one. As it was, the action was wrapped up quickly, without an appropriate sense of climax, I thought. Wilson may be sick of apocalyptic serials (and fair enough), so decided to try something different. I really liked the innovation, but wanted everything to slow down a little so I could savour it.

 

No Humans Involved, by Kelley Armstrong

No Humans Involved follows necromancer Jaime Vegas as she tries to solve the murder of several murdered children, delving into the realm of human ritualistic sacrifice. She does so while trying to negotiate her way through the even more evil realm of Hollywood production, aiming to land her own TV show.

As her flirtation with Alpha werewolf Jeremy deepens into something more real, she also must decide what she is willing to risk in order to be with him.

This book is the seventh in Kelley Armstrong’s Women of the Otherworld series. Can I just say how much I love this series? Armstrong has the same premise as many authors out there – a supernatural world full of beautiful, fantastical people. But she does it so well.

And before most others. I believe the first book in this series, Bitten, was first published in 2003. I remember reading it and thinking: Yes! Armstrong can actually write, a big advantage she has over other authors in her genre.

It’s also more grown up, definitely not young adult, and the sex scenes are great. Not so graphic as to push it over to erotica, but certainly enough. I think these books just satisfy my desire for smart, fantastical romance. And how.

Word of the day:

Troglodyte: a prehistoric cave dweller; a person of degraded, primitive, or brutal character; a person living in seclusion; or a person unacquainted with affairs of the world.

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