Monday, August 17, 2015

Book Review: Implant

Implant by J. Grace Pennington


Recommended for: Ages 12 to Adult

Rating: PG-13 (violence and medical)

Welcome to the world of a universal cure.

 Gordon Harding didn’t ask for the life he has. He didn’t ask to be orphaned. He didn’t ask to go through life with cancer. And he certainly didn’t ask to be pulled into a future world without warning–a world where every human being is controlled by means of a medical implant. 

 And when he learns that he’s the only one who can destroy the base of operations, he’s faced with an impossibly painful choice: either hide and let the world decay under this mysterious futuristic force, or rescue humanity from oppression, knowing that there’s someone out there who is willing to use any means necessary to stop him.

Wow. Just wow. Because I volunteered late with uncertain reading time, I wasn't sure I'd get the book done in time for this, but I ended up with plenty of time to read Wednesday and read the whole thing. In one day. I've come to expect no less than fantastic from Grace's books, and this certainly complied with that expectation. I finished it with the same awe and "I wish I could write like that" with which I finished Radialloy. Implant is amazing, and everyone should read it.

Writing: 5/5

Have I said it in this post yet? Grace is an amazing writer. Her writing is concise and her descriptions concrete. Throughout the entire book, I could clearly see all the places and events in my mind. I could feel the emotion. I tensed during the action. I was shocked at the plot twists. I lived the story. I was there with Gordon experiencing it. Grace knows just the right words to use to pull in the reader. Just as I was in the Dead Mines with Travis Hamilton, just as I traveled in the Surveyor with Andi Lloyd, I was pulled to a future dystopia with Gordon Harding. Just perfect.

Setting: 5/5

The entire thing is at least somewhat in the future. Gordon's home time period is not so different from now, and the future is a war torn nation. But it didn't feel cliche or anything. After all, Grace wrote the book before the dystopian craze really began. And there really aren't too many settings. Just the few places there needed to be. I'll talk about the medical aspect and the time travel in this section too. There's basically always something to do with medicine in Grace's books. Gordon's father was a doctor. His mentor back home is a doctor. In the future, Doc is obviously a doctor. And since it centers around medical implants, much of the story involves medical stuff. There is some futuristic medicine, but it all felt very realistic. I trust Grace to know what she's talking about in that area. :) The time travel also felt realistic. It wasn't your typical hop in a spaceship, go where you want to go (or where your TARDIS thinks you're most needed). Gordon is pulled through time, and it's a very calculated, not very certain, scientific experiment. It's not explained in detail, but it works well for the story.

Plot: 5/5

Grace is a master at plot twists. And mysteries. And plots in general. Obviously, I can't give much away or it would ruin the book. But while it does have the same save-the-world as most dystopians, it's not the same save-the-world as the typical dystopian. Gordon is out of his time period. He doesn't really have a lot invested in saving it. But he's gradually convinced that he should do something. And the twist. I did not see it coming. I felt like I should have, but I didn't. I was able to guess a few things accurately once that twist was revealed, but before, I had no idea what would happen, or if they would even succeed. No more, because I don't want to give spoilers, and I know I will if I keep talking about it.

Character Development: 4.5/5

I would probably have liked to get to know the characters a little deeper, but that doesn't mean they weren't well drawn and unique. They certainly were. The story is just so fast paced there really isn't any downtime, is all. Gordon Harding is a high school graduate with a job working for a doctor, Baum, but he has severe anemia which turns out to be cause by leukemia. Not exactly the sort of guy you'd picture as an action hero. Combined with the fact that he doesn't know who to trust and sometimes makes stupid mistakes. But his mistakes are completely relatable ones, which I would probably also make in the same circumstances. And he hates oatmeal. Just a briefly mentioned fact, but it stuck with me because, well, so do I. Doc is...not what you'd expect from a doctor. He seems quite heartless and unfeeling, but he's hiding a secret which made him that way. He's not what you'd expect from a mentor, even though he does constantly push Gordon to be better. Then there's Neil Crater. He's a man with principles, and a man determined to save the world.

Implant is a roller coaster of emotions. It is an exciting adventure and a story with a message of freedom, and what it truly means. Just my kind of story, and whether it is yours or not, I think you'll enjoy Implant. It is a book you do not want to miss.

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