Genres: Young Adult, Dystopia, Science Fiction
Release Date: May 1, 2014
Publication: Hachette Children’s Books | Hodder Children
Number of pages: 352
Source: eARC from Netgalley & ARC from UK Publisher
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It is 2018. England has been struggling under a recession that has shown no sign of abating. Years of cuts has devastated Britain: banks are going under, businesses closing, prices soaring, unemployment rising, prisons overflowing. The authorities cannot cope. And the population has maxed out.
The police are snowed under. Something has to give. Drastic measures need taking.
The solution: forced sterilisation of all school leavers without secure further education plans or guaranteed employment.
The country is aghast. Families are distraught, teenagers are in revolt, but the politicians are unshakeable: The population explosion must be curbed. No more free housing for single parents, no more child benefit, no more free school meals, no more children in need. Less means more.
But it is all so blatantly unfair – the Teen Haves will procreate, the Teen Havenots won’t.
It’s time for the young to take to the streets. It’s time for them to RIOT:
OUR RIGHT TO CHOOSE, OUR BODIES, OUR FUTURE.
Disclaimer: There will be spoilers. ABORT IF YOU PLAN TO READ THIS BOOK.
There are books that are bad, and there are books that are head-splitting bad. Unfortunately, I’d categorize Riot under the latter, as I got a huge clusterfuck of a migraine from reading this… this thing.
You see, I’m one of those people who believe not everything is black and white, even governments. In fact, I’d dare say they’re the shadiest of the shadies. And why not? They govern the land and the people, they manage the country’s funds, they are our representatives in international affairs, and they are considered the elite of the elite. With so much power, it’s not rocket science to believe that they will always have their own interests prioritized (or rather, their
underground businesses, or whatever puts them ahead of the game). Plus, I’m Filipino, and my country is full of rotten politicians who embezzle money so blatantly that my countrymen already consider them as normal as roosters cock-a-doodle-do-ing at first light.
So governments or politicians-gone-bad? I’m your expert here, folks.
And that was why I wanted to read this one. I read the blurb and thought it was highly unrealistic and laughable, but I still wanted to know how it would be executed. Sometimes a premise can sound silly, but if it’s done right, it can be the best of them all. Besides, my initial prejudices have been proven wrong countless times, so I wanted to try my luck.
But as fate would have it, my luck ran out. And all I got was a beastly headache. UGH.
Warning: long rants ahead. Like, whoa. That’s long, dude.
More like “Government-Gone-Unrealistic”
Long story short, it’s 2018 and England is overpopulated. The solution? The legislation of the Snip Bill, a forced sterilisation of the youth of the ballooning lower classes. This, of course, leads to unrest and much rioting of the masses, the latter spearheaded by the President’s daughter, Tia Thomson, a self-proclaimed activist whose alter ego is EVE, Mother of the Future, leader and creator of DarkNet7. What should have been a peaceful riot turns into a deadly incident as snipers and helicopters start shooting and killing people. Tia Thomson escapes and gets aided by Cobain, a wanted terrorist, and she is about to discover the “shocking” truth.
Shocking, of course, being that the government is lying to the people and there is actually no overpopulation, and that they simply want to distribute resources to the middle and upper classes, and so they went ahead to do this huge propaganda by initiating the riot themselves (disguised as the rioters) and brainwashing the people into protesting, and… and… and…
…and I ask myself this: what the flying fuck for?
Nevermind the fact that the British “Government” killed countless people for a confusing, illogical reason. Let’s talk about why the initial premise alone is laughable and ridiculous. I know stuff like this I should suspend my disbelief, but when a setting is very much grounded to our own world and time, I have this principle that it at least has to sound realistic, or, at most, feasible. So for me, it was highly uncanny that a Western government who are the pioneers of the protection of human rights such as the United Kingdom would spearhead an awful legislation that entails the forceful snipping of reproductive organs. I get that a lot of things could change in a year or two, but this?! Come on, dudes and dudettes. Humanity can be awful sometimes, but I’m certain we would not go this low.
And besides, say for example a Western and European government would devolve into primitives (which is highly doubtful, no matter how disgusting our politicians can be), where the heck were the NGOs who would usually try to ease tension? Or the UN? Or the ever-so present human rights groups?! Even wars in Syria and Libya had people from these organizations trying to help the wounded, and for such an unreasonably and violating Bill, they would also try to not make it happen.
So, yeah, I’m sorry, but I just couldn’t buy the whole freaking thing. This is no longer far-fetched – it’s so far gone into the abyss of unrealistic that it can no longer be salvaged. And oh, did I mention how utterly ridiculous the real reasons behind the Snip Bill, and how they manipulated everything to make it happen? My reaction to it is this:
Behold: Tia Thomson, She. Who. Has. The.
Most. Robotic. Voice. EVER.
I don’t even care anymore that we were thrown into the middle of a situation, confused like a newborn babe, without anything to help us understand what the fuck was going on. It was an issue for me at first, but as I finished the last page of this book, my headache actually came from somewhere else – FROM THE NARRATION/WRITING ITSELF.
Dear lord jesus in a manger. Tia Thomson is a self-proclaimed hacktivist who supposedly knows her way into computers and gadgets, but the way she thinks is like that of a 5 year old. No, wait, I apologize – even 5 year olds have smoother way of thinking then hers. Her narration was absolutely horrendous. Even Simon Cowell would be saying “bloody hell” all day if he ever encountered such a thing (which I did, too, because god the migraine was terrible). They are all fragmented and choppy, some of them containing less than 10 words.
And I keep thinking: are you a frigging 5 year old, or what? x_x
I’ve been hit.
Lacey’s here. She pulls my arm. The pain’s unbearable.
She jolts me. “Tia!” she shrieks. “Get up, they’re shooting!” She jolts me again.
I recoil. I try to get up. I put my good hand to my shulder. It comes away red. Lacey sees it and screams. Rushing air blasts overhead. The helicopter’s still there.
“They’re trying to kill us,” sobs Lacey.
I force myself up.
And as you can see, there’s also a lot of telling than showing. We’re always told that she felt this, that she felt that, that this is so and that’s like that, but it’s never shown to us in detail. We’re just told and then that’s that – no other explanation, no other exposition, no other anything.
“Keep going,” he orders.
In the alley, he pulls me to a stop. I’m too out of breath to say anything. He drops us back, into an entrance, against a bricked-up doorway. He’s panting and sweating. His face is half-lit, half in shadow. He lays a finger over his lips. I try to stop wheezing. My shoulder throbs. My chest is on fire.
I apologize, but I think I got another headache from typing that. x_x
In any case, before I digress and go “woe-is-me!”, the disorienting narration made it so hard for me to connect to Tia. I mean, I understand she’s fighting for a cause, but I didn’t feel attached enough to care. I just wanted it all to end.
It also doesn’t help that the main character has no sense of self-preservation at all. Dudette is supposedly really good at computers and whatnot, so she should know THE MOST how it’s so easy to get discovered simply by using a cellphone. But nope, Tia here keeps on using them anyway, and has been found and chased and targeted, like, I dunno, several times, just for using a freaking gadget. AND SHE EVEN ACKNOWLEDGES THAT IT MAY BE DANGEROUS BUT SHE KEEPS DOING IT LIKE A MORON (sorry for les caps).
This, of course, keeps resulting to her continuously being saved by her knight in shining armor…
Cobain and Tia: The Romance That Did Not Make Sense
(PLUS SEXIST ALERT)
I honestly do not know where this romance came from. One moment they’re all angry at each other, and then boom, we get kisses and hugs and “I don’t want to leave you” dialogues. Like, whoa! Fast-paced much?
It’s not actually insta-love per se. It did take them a while to like each other, and Cobain did try to help and follow Tia because he had motives and agendas for his own, but I didn’t see anything that could justify their attraction to one another (oh, fine, Tia kept complimenting his “cat-like” green eyes *grumble*). I may be acting really nit-picky right now, but for me to actually be into the romance, I have to at least see something (let it be a heartfelt conversation or an event) where sparks fly. I really didn’t see anything of that sort here, to be honest.
And anyway, even if sparks did fly (I assure you they didn’t), I never really found Cobain that swoon-worthy. And there were times he was incredibly sexist as well, especially in the beginning, when he was talking and walking with his friends. So they’re talking about EVE (Tia Thomson), making fun of her and her HANDS OFF! campaign. Behold, Cobain Reilly, your love interest:
“Too right,” laughs a friend. “I don’t know why she’s so fussed about having her tubes snipped – it’s not like anyone’d want to do her, anyway.”
They laugh. Laugh and laugh. I press harder on my arm. Dear God, let them go.
“You know why she hides her identity?” says another. “Why she calls herself EVE? Mother of the Future?”
“Because she’s so ugly even Frankenstein ran away.”
Cobain opens his mouth and laughs. “That’s good. That’s really good. I heard she really is ugly.”
“All that lot are ugly,” says his friend, “that’s why they’re so angry, because they’re panting for it and no guy’d ever look at them.”
“Not this guy anyway,” says Cobain. “Like would I be bothered about some random bit of pussy that’s got to whip up support to get itself noticed?”
Friends, if I heard anyone say this about me or about my mom or my sister or my cousins or my female friends or anyone female in general, I would kick them so hard in the fucking balls.
The fact is, Tia heard this, and she didn’t even react. She heard this, and she still fell in love with Cobain. LIKE WHAT THE FUCK ARE YOU SMOKING GIRL?! This guy just degraded you even if he didn’t know a single thing about you, and you’re fine with that?
This book is horrendous. The premise is laughable at best, the writing is migraine-inducing, the main character is a moron, and the love interest is a pathetic asshole who is as fleeting as a goldfish’s memory. You want my recommendation? Stay. Away. But feel free to read it to form your own conclusion – just don’t say I didn’t warn you.
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