Toys by James Patterson and Neil McMahon

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Toys by James Patterson and Neil McMahon

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Category: General Fiction
Rating: 4/5
Reviewer: Louise Laurie
Reviewed by Louise Laurie
Summary: We're decades into the future and a race called 'the Elites' are taking over the world. But one man, Hays Baker sets out on an extraordinary and dangerous quest - for truth and ultimately justice.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 400 Date: April 2011
Publisher: Century
ISBN: 978-1846057700

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I feel as if I should 'fess straight away and say that this is my first James Patterson read. Yes, I'm certainly aware of his phenomenal success (the front cover boasts that this book is From the world's bestselling thriller writer) and I seem to remember recently from a television programme that Patterson is amongst the top writers whose books are borrowed from British libraries. Both the title and the jacket cover are excellent - they do their job and grab the reader from the outset. Personally speaking, while I enjoy dipping into a thriller; one book goes a long way. Will I be converted and become yet another fan?

The novel has a very glamorous opening. We're at President Jacklin's inauguration party and the easy flow of narration gets me seamlessly and effortlessly into the story. There are plenty of comments and observations pertaining to the super-duper hi-tech times of the story, so as early as page 10 Hays and his beautiful wife Lizbeth, who are invitees, are attended to by a well-trained and well-programmed iJeeves butler. I loved that phrase. It made me smile. The Bakers are an impressive and influential couple. As part of the 'elite' society they expect a flawless, ordered life for themselves and their family. And Patterson then informs us that mere human beings have been relegated to menial work and most of them live pitiful lives and serves them right, apparently. They're despised but their labour is necessary to oil the wheels of the important daily lives of the elites. But the elites have extremely ambitious plans. Can they pull them off?

And as the story takes place around the middle of the 21st century there are quite a few references to 'our' times back in 2011. We failed in so many areas, global warming just being one of them and Patterson decides to hammer home this particular point by telling his readers that many cities on the east coast of America have succumbed - and are now under water.

As the plot develops we become more aware of the future world Patterson has created for his characters. They can be divided neatly into two groups. And he has some fun in this elite world where weird and wonderful things happen (except of course that they are completely normally for those futuristic times). So, there's genetically tamed animals, mood helmets and ... those toys (which give the book its title). I won't risk spoiling the story by talking about the toys and what they can or cannot do but let's just say we're a million miles away from cuddly teddy bears.

I certainly found the first part of the book engaging and I also enjoyed Patterson's style. But then, for me, it lost a little momentum somewhere around the middle before picking up again. The second part is quite fast and furious (if you'll forgive me using a cliche here) with lots and lots of futuristic action (or should that be iaction?) For thriller lovers, this book will probably tick most, if not all, of the boxes for a good read and I personally enjoyed the creative thinking and creative writing involved in this novel. Recommended.

I'd like to thank the publishers for sending a copy to The Bookbag.

If this book appeals then try Corsair (Oregon Files) by Clive Cussler.

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