Synthetica by Rachel Pattinson was a great debut novel. At 299 (kindle) pages, Synthetica was a fast-paced read for me. The story was paced well, and had surprises at every turn. Thankfully, it didn’t fall victim to the usual YA tropes and really stands out as an interesting take at the dystopian society. The world of Synthetica isn’t as far-fetched as we’d like to hope.
Summary from Goodreads:
This city is falling.
Seventeen-year-old Anais Finch lives in a world where everyone is born beautiful, where every dream is a possibility – and where their every move and every piece of personal information is recorded by an ID picochip inserted behind their right ear. When technology giant, Civitas, finally announces the launch of their highly anticipated Scholarly Learning Programs, which allow people to download and learn any subject instantly, Anais can hardly wait.
But not everyone is pleased with society’s progress, and not everyone wants to fit in. When Anais witnesses a brutal murder on an innocent citizen and is implicated in the crime, she becomes determined to uncover the truth, especially when others like it begin to occur all over the city. But it may already be too late for Anais to stop the man who calls himself ‘the Hacker’ before he commits his most appalling crime yet…
Anais, our heroine, is an average girl-next-door who grew up in a lower-middle class family. At her career meeting she is placed in the Picochip factory, just like her parents. Anais’ hope is that she could break out of those limits and become an architect by using SLP chips that allow the user to learn everything instantly. (Which would be awesome in the real world, am I right?) Then after witnessing a murder, her and her friends start to put the pieces together and discover a dangerous terrorist plot.
The world building was fantastic! In fact, it was probably my favorite part of Synthetica. The story is set in the “moderately distant” future of earth, where technology is so advanced that children’s traits can be picked at conception. I always found this fascinating, getting to “build” your perfect child so to speak. On the dark side of this idea, however, I could see how this could turn sour for society and we would become fixated on having the perfect child. Luckily in this world, people can easily change their hair and even eye colour to fit the particular fashion.
The story and action really kick it into gear around the 50% mark. I suddenly found it impossible to put down and I read the latter half of the book in one sitting. The ending was such a cliffhanger, hopefully the second installment will be out soon.
Unfortunately, I must comment on the formatting for the e-reader. I use a free reader, UB reader via the Google Play Store, for the ARC copies I receive. I read exclusively on my Samsung Galaxy Tablet. When I opened the file, I was disappointed to see that none of the chapters were linked or spaced properly and paragraphs cut off mid-line. Hopefully this wasn’t the case for everyone else who is reading it. However, it didn’t stop me from enjoying the story.
Ultimately, I would be interested in seeing more from this author… Particularly the one about a sex-crazed girl in a dome world that she mentioned in her bio!