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“Gates's world of corporate corruption and his feisty, unlikely protagonist bring this story to life in the way books should be. It's lively and truthful without placing blame unduly. Wonderful craftsmanship of language with a good plot, this book should be read by all.”see full review » see other reviews »
“While not on the level of Orwell's "1984," Huxley's "Brave New World," or Bradbury's "Fahrenheit 451" as far as dystopian novels go, this is an engaging tale. In this dystopian future the world is run by two huge corporations - one American in origin and one Chinese in origin. People's lives are pretty much owned by the company that encourages them to buy more and more things while striving to increase their credit level. Go over your credit limit and you're repossessed by the company and sent to a labor camp, ostensibly to pay off your debt.
May Fields is the daughter of the CEO of the American company, N-Corp. While her life is pretty lonely, she doesn't really consider any alternatives until she is kidnapped by a revolutionary group called The Protectorate. The Protectorate is supposed to be a fourth branch of the original American democratic government, created to put things back in balance should the checks and balances of the executive, legislative and judicial branches fail.
It's a world not far removed from our own, where the corporations have merged to become one and legislated the government out of existence. Gates' tale gets a bit obvious and heavy-handed at times, but it really held my attention nonetheless. I think it would make a great movie. Don't expect brilliant literature here, but do expect an intriguing story.”
“Blood Zero Sky describes a scarily plausible future where two corporations run the world, coopting the functions of government, economy, religion, and every other cultural construct. May Fields, as the daughter of the N-Corps CEO, seems to have a bright and prosperous future with the company, but May has secrets. One of these is her dissatisfaction with her life, as she must hide her differences from the rest of society. May is a wonderful, complex character and Gates does a wonderful job of dramatic tension as he develops her from doubt and dissatisfaction, to rebellion and renouncement, but still troubled by uncertainties. The climax of the book is especially well done, riveting and emotional. It is a difficult ending to read, but not without hope. An immensely fine read.”Julie Mitchell wrote this review Saturday, December 15, 2012. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“Originally posted on A Reader of Fictions: http://readeroffictions.blogspot.com/2012/10/review-giveaway-blood-zero-sky.html
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.
The opening scene hooks the reader right off. The heroine runs, bullets flying around her and through her. The men and women nearby pull away, trying to avoid her and make it to work on time. That's all you get and then it's back in time, the novel progressing forward to that opening scene. This narrative technique is tricky, as the audience now has a pretty good idea of the ending. In this case, I think this opening sets the reader up for what to expect: lots of pain and fighting and powerful bad guys.
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.”
“Gates's world of corporate corruption and his feisty, unlikely protagonist bring this story to life in the way books should be. It's lively and truthful without placing blame unduly. Wonderful craftsmanship of language with a good plot, this book should be read by all.”C. Hirsch wrote this review Saturday, September 1, 2012. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No