Hi virtually Readers! I’m busy getting myself into trouble (read: being stressed about all my work) but I’m still going to give you a book review.(because I’m so magnanimous, I guess)
Title: The Body Electric
Author: Beth Revis
Genre: YA Dystopia
Themes: Nanobots, not-rebellions, cloning, ethics, occupying multiple bodies
Similar to: Skinned, The Adoration of Jenna Fox, The Lunar Chronicles
This book was cool.
Summary: Ella Shepherd is busy looking after her sick mother and working at Reverie, a mental spa that allows clients to relieve their best memories in New Venice, a few decades after a debilitating world war. But one day a boy makes her rethink everything she’s always known about her parent’s research, her father’s death and the strange way she can enter other people’s reveries. She decides to search for the truth—but it’s starting to looks more important and more scary than she thought.
I liked Across the Universe. But can I say that this was better? As a standalone sci fi/dystopia, it’s certainly a rare beast, but ohhhhh was it interesting.
One of the main questions it explored was What does it mean to be human? As Ella discovers government secrets and the power of the reveries her mother invented, she begins to question who she is and where the line between a human and robot lies. This mad for plenty of moral grey area, especially as Ella realises that what’s in her mind isn’t the whole truth.
Another theme was identity. How can Ella know whoo she is when she’s realising that what she’s always defined herself by—her family, her friends, her home—isn’t entirely true. And as Ella starts to understand that her friend Jack may have answers, she realises these answers involve who she really is. I loved the way all these questions characterized Ella and her disillusionment felt rapid and gradual simultaneously.
The plot was also on point. I felt like there was always action enough to keep me intrigued, but not so much as to lose out on characterization and world building. While the plot (and the world) contained some dystopian tropes (fewer countries than currently, a debilitation war, character meets rebels who explain that government is evil) there was also uniqueness (New Venice is bridged between two islands in Malta, of all places, nanobots do all these things, rebellion is not the centre of the plot). The plot had direction without being predictable, although the ending felt quite rushed. I couldn’t quite *get* how or why the villain was the villain. Altogether though, the Body Electric transported me into a powerful story with rich characters which never failed to intrigue me.
How do you feel about sci-fi? Ever read a book set in Malta? What do you think about nanobots? Are you going to read this?