Author: J. Gabriel Gates
Publisher: Health Communications
Publication Date: October 1, 2012
Source: Publisher via TLC Book Tours
Description from Goodreads:
Unprofitables are banished to work camps to pay off their credit. Other tie-men and women look on apathetically. "Fair is fair. Everyone knows you shouldn't use more credit than you are worth to the Company. "They turn their attention to the next repackaged but highly coveted N-Corp product on the market, creatively advertised on the imager screens that adorn virtually every available flat surface. All the while, their mandatory cross-implants and wrist-worn "ICs" keep them focused on the endless cycle of work and consumption to which they are enslaved.
May Fields the CEO's daughter would like to believe she is above all that. Head of N-Corp's marketing team, the young woman who has almost everything anyone could want spends her days dreaming up ingenious ways to make workers buy more of what they already have and don't need. Even before May discovers that the Company is headed for its first loss in thirty years, she is feeling the stirrings of dissatisfaction with the system that has given her everything she's ever wanted . . . except the freedom to be herself.
When she is kidnapped by a member of the Protectorate a secret order dating back to the American Revolution May is suddenly faced with the frightening truth of what the Company's greed has done to our most basic human rights. Will she embrace who she is and join the battle to restore America's democratic freedom, or put her blinders back on and return to her safe and passionless life?
More prediction than fiction, "Blood Zero Sky "is a riveting, nonstop, and suspenseful gaze into the looking glass, destined to rise with the zeitgeist of our times to become the anthem of a generation.
First Sentence: "Gone now is the gun from my hand."
I read a lot of dystopian/post-apocalytpic fiction, but, in the last couple of years, I've primarily read YA ones. Sometimes I forget just how much bleaker the adult ones are. Whereas in YA dystopias, the youth with newly opened eyes joins a movement and you know they have pretty good chances of defeating the evil government, in an adult dystopia, odds are a lot higher that the bad guy will win. Blood Zero Sky is one hundred percent dystopian, not watered down or limited to a small population.
Our heroine has a pretty perfect life. Her father is the CEO of N Corp, one of only two corporations in the world. N Corp runs all of the western hemisphere. People either work for N Corp or they struggle to survive as Unprofitables. Essentially, most of the world's population works in indentured servitude to the Company, living in Company apartments and buying on credit, with very little chance of their salary every matching their spending. Those few that do manage to pay off all their debt are known as blackies.
May Fields will be a blackie in a matter of years. She runs the Marketing division, coming up with ways to convince the population that they simply must have the new version of this or that technology, which, honestly, doesn't differ much from the previous version. Like everyone else, she spends almost all of her time working. She has one friend, Randal, a genius, so brilliant that he was put into a special team, whose intelligence is enhanced by pills that have the side-effect of weight gain, stuttering, and sterility.
May has a secret, however, that proves her undoing. She is a lesbian, still dreaming of her childhood love, Kali. She also likes to dress in men's clothing, another taboo. The Company, you see, is smart, and pushes Christianity on the population, choosing to stress the stories that advocate hard work. They're big on morality, on behaving a particular way. Jimmy Shaw, the Company's face for religion, creeps me out so much. He's only in a couple of scenes but they are shudder city.
N Corp basically terrifies the shiz out of me, because it's just so incredibly soulless and in control of everything. They implant crosses in everyone's face, sold for convenience's sake as they allow the user to control technology with their brains. However, these can also be used for tracking. N Corp sells one person cars to ensure that every single person has to buy their own. Employees that are late to work are fined. People are charged money simply for entering a store, whether or not they make a purchase. Gates paints a gruesome picture of capitalism run rampant.
Gates' dystopian world building is marvelous, and I applaud him for that. I relished the return to a classic dystopian framework. As I feel like I'm always saying though,, I did not feel a huge connection to the characters. Only for three of them do we really get any kind of back story, one of them being May. Without a back story, the others are a bit one dimensional, either part of the Company or the resistance. May herself is icy cold and pretty much emotionless for most of the book. Towards the end she defrosts a bit, but she's the kind of heroine that sort of pushes the reader away. My favorites actually ended up being McCann and his son, Michel.
I recommend this book highly to readers that enjoy the works of Max Barry, as I felt a lot of the themes really spoke to my memories of his book Machine Man. When you get frustrated at a lack of world building in other dystopias, you can come revel in Blood Zero Sky.
Favorite Quote: "'If the world is polluted, we are polluted. If the world dies, we die anyway. I don't pretend to be separate from the world. If she is poisoned, I jump in and be poisoned with her.'"
The publisher has been so kind as to offer up a copy of the book for one reader. Just fill out THIS FORM by October 23 at 11.59 PM. US/CAN only.