* I have been given a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review *
Publisher: Bloomsbury Children’s Books
Release Date: September 21st 2017
Summary (from Goodreads):
Lex lives on The Strip – the overcrowded, closed-off, bombed-out shell of London. He’s used to the watchful enemy drones that buzz in the air above him.
Alan’s talent as a gamer has landed him the job of his dreams. At a military base in a secret location, he is about to start work as a drone pilot.
These two young men will never meet, but their lives are destined to collide. Because Alan has just been assigned a high-profile target. Alan knows him only as #K622. But Lex calls him Dad.
This is a short novel that packs a big punch and expertly shows two different sides to the same story.
Lex lives on The Strip, what remains of London after bombs have ruined it. His dad works for a group that rebels against the oppressors who watch over them through drones in the sky. This makes him and his family well respected in The Strip. It also makes him a target.
Alan has just landed a dream job as a drone pilot. He watches over his target day in day out, waiting for the day the order will be given to assassinate #K622 – Lex’s dad.
Lex and Alan are complete opposites in character: Lex is a nice guy who cares for his family, treats the girl he falls for well and wants to do what he can to help his dad and the rebellion. Alan is rude to his mother and treats his job the same as he does a computer game: the targets to him aren’t living breathing people, just something on a screen to be destroyed at the touch of a button.
I didn’t dislike Alan as much as everyone else seems to. I understand that he thinks he’s doing a good job and protecting the world from terrorists. He does behave badly towards a girl but at least shows some remorse for it. And when it comes to crunch time, he falters.
Lex was a little bland for me and I was so annoyed how he disobeyed his Dad’s orders, which were so obviously meant to keep him safe. I know that’s what kids do but it’s annoying when they put themselves in danger just to get laid!
I loved the 1984 feel to the story, with drones watching everything that people do from the sky, the feeling of never being safe, of nothing being private. The picture of this hollow shell of London was beautifully painted, with the references to real places making it easy to picture. I did want to know more about what happened and how they got to that stage as the background is a little lacking.
The ending felt a bit odd to me: it all felt very rushed, then suddenly very slow as it covered a long period of time after the main events of the book. On the one hand, it was kind of cool to see how the characters lives went on afterward, but it just felt a strange way to end things.
This is a quick read, a kind of cautionary tale for where we could be headed and will be sure to delight any fans of 1984, or Malorie Blackman.