Slated by Teri Terry
|Slated by Teri Terry|
|Reviewer: Jill Murphy|
|Summary: Really interesting dystopian novel about memories, crime and punishment and authoritarianism generally. There's a real sense of menace and the book asks fascinating questions. Only let down by an unsatisfactory ending.|
|Buy? Yes||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 448||Date: May 2012|
|External links: Author's website|
It's Britain about fifty years from now and sixteen-year-old Kyla is just about to leave the hospital and go home with her new, adopted family. Kyla has been slated - her memories deleted and her entire personality erased. Kyla is a blank slate. This is what happens to child criminals under the Central Coalition, who were responsible for wiping out the gangs and the riots that had dominated the country for so long. In their eyes, Kyla has been given a second chance.
But not everyone agrees. Kyla faces problems at school from pupils who resent the slated. And it's difficult to stay calm or positive or focussed when everyone - Mum, Dad, teachers, doctors, support workers - are watching your every move for signs of regression. And especially when your dreams - nightmares, really - seem more like memories than fantasies. So when Kyla discovers that the government line about slating isn't entirely truthful, she finds herself in terrible danger. And worse still, Ben - the slated boy she's beginning to fall in love with - is in danger too...
I loved Slated. It's intelligent, it's menacing, it asks difficult questions. It features an unforgettable central character, a credible future society and explores the direction of current political travel. In this CCTV world where smoking in public is banned, ISPs and websites are pressured to inform on internet users and spy satellites can take close-up pictures of householders putting the wrong rubbish in the wrong bins for council prosecutions, is slating so unlikely? Is it? At what point does the freedom fighter become the terrorist? What does it mean to be human? Is the body sufficient? Or are we the sum of our memories and experiences? There is so much to think about in this novel and Terry layers issue after issue very cleverly in a slow but remorseless ratcheting up of tension as the pages go on.
But - and it's a big but - I do have a problem. There is a denouement in Slated - a crashing realisation for Kyla - but it's utterly unsatisfactory. I can live with a cliffhanger for the overall arc of one episode in a sequence, but I don't like it when every plot thread is left hanging. With about fifty pages to go, I realised this was going to happen and it really is my pet hate as a reader. Every single question - except the one I hadn't given much thought to - is left unanswered. I won't list them here for fear of spoilers but I will register my displeasure. When I read a book from a series I want the arc to continue but the episode to END. So bah.
Even so, I'm looking forward to the next book in this cleverly-paced, subtly-written, dystopian sequence. This genre is horribly overheated just now, but Slated is quality entrant and recommended by Bookbag, despite the dodgy climax. Without that, I'd have given it five stars without a second thought.
Other marvellous novels set in an near-future, increasingly authoritarian Britian include Blackout by Sam Mills, The Carbon Diaries 2015 by Saci Lloyd and The Last Free Cat by Jon Blake. If it's the memories and consciousness aspect of Slated that interests you, try The Adoration of Jenna Fox by Mary E Pearson or Skinned by Robin Wasserman.
You can read more book reviews or buy Slated by Teri Terry at Amazon.co.uk.
You can read more book reviews or buy Slated by Teri Terry at Amazon.com.
Like to comment on this review?
Just send us an email and we'll put the best up on the site.