84K by Claire North

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84K by Claire North

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Buy 84K by Claire North at Amazon.co.uk or Amazon.com

Category: Dystopian Fiction
Rating: 5/5
Reviewer: Mary Waterfall
Reviewed by Mary Waterfall
Summary: An astounding thought provoking and powerful book. Be warned, it will tie you up in knots with every twist and turn of the page and make you question everything. The setting is a world easily recognisable but as with all her stories, Claire North expertly weaves in an unexpected twist. She takes the familiar and hits you over the head with it, examines the world under a microscope takes it apart and serves it back in a new context. A thoroughly riveting story, it is a joy to have your preconceptions challenged by such a talented writer.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 464 Date: May 2018
Publisher: Orbit
External links: Author's website
ISBN: 978-0356507378

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Can you put a price on human life?

Theo can, he calculates the worth of each person to the penny. The Company own everything and everyone, including handing out punishments for crime. Theo sleepwalks through life keeping his head down whilst working for the Criminal Audit Office. Doing just enough work to avoid anyone noticing him, he calculates, without emotion, the cost of the crimes filling his inbox. They are variables on a spreadsheet, a simple mathematical equation, the expense of solving the crime added to how much the victim would have contributed to their community. Prisons are uneconomical so criminals in this world pay their debt to society in cold hard cash.

When the audit file for the murder of his ex-lover drops onto his desk, Theo's carefully discreet life begins to unravel. He finds himself reassessing his profit and loss columns and his detached assessment of human life. He audits and assesses the world with new eyes, no longer content to hide beneath his mediocrity and shaken out of his unthinking compliance. As he begins to delve into the murky reality of what his job really means there is a growing feeling of menace. Just how long Theo can survive now The Company have noticed him?

At times, this is an uncomfortable read. Hopes and dreams are for the few who can afford to own them, life is meaningless in a world where everyone has a price and can be bought and sold. The characters and events within the story demand your attention, the brutality of the acts made more striking by the poetic lilt of the writing. By following Theo's journey, you confront a world that has ceased to care about people. The characters have such emotional depth that the loss of beloved institutions, the monetising of human rights becomes personal.

This is no brave new world of the future but a fascinating look at the decisions society is taking now. North's finely drawn tale leads you gently into making comparisons with your own life. You begin to evaluate your own worldview as the characters begin to fight against their allocated place in society. Different characters are convincing in their defence of the choices they make. You have to decide for yourself the morality or the necessity of the events taking place and some of these decisions are challenging. Exactly how far can you go in order to stop monsters and remain human yourself?

This book is different to the author's earlier works, darker and perhaps more contentious, but no less compelling. Some comparisons to Nineteen Eighty Four will inevitably be made as this story is equally thought-provoking with some similar themes. This should not detract from the unique world that North portrays and in terms of fear factor, Orwell's Thought Police are mere babes when compared to The Company.

Further reading in a similar vein could be, The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins or The One Safe Place by Tania Unsworth. You might also enjoy Maladapted by Richard Kurti.

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Buy 84K by Claire North at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy 84K by Claire North at Amazon.co.uk Amazon currently charges £2.99 for standard delivery for orders under £20, over which delivery is free.
Buy 84K by Claire North at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy 84K by Claire North at Amazon.com.


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