Luc Reid's Reviews > The Immortality Virus

The Immortality Virus by Christine Amsden
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's review
Feb 23, 2012

really liked it
Read in February, 2012

The Immortality Virus takes place in a future world where aging stops at about 25. The result is massive overpopulation, homelessness, and starvation. Ironically, immortality creates a world where life is cheap.

Grace, the central character, is a former police officer who has been thrown off the force. She ekes out a living as a private detective, barely getting by until she's offered the job of a lifetime, together with what might just be an opportunity to reverse the effects of the immortality virus and bring humankind back to a normal state.

SF fans who are intrigued by dystopic futures and readers who like high-stakes detective stories are likely to enjoy this one. Amsden has thought through the social, political, and economic impacts of living forever, and it's these effects that drive the story, often leading us into some very grim places. There were a couple of passages that were uncomfortably gruesome for me, but by virtue of those passages, the story conveys its seriousness and Amsden makes it clear that she doesn't protect the innocent from the effects of her world.

The disruptor battle in the graveyard was especially effective, I thought.

I found the first half of the book fairly engaging, but the story picked up for me in the second half. The end is satisfying to me in most ways, but I would have preferred more introspection from the character about what she was trying to achieve earlier in the book, considering what happened at the end. I also would have liked to see some of the emotional components handled more subtly, though I won't give away key moments by mentioning specifics here.

Nonetheless, this is a solid story with some mental sticking power, and if either the premise or the detective genre appeals to you, you'll likely feel well rewarded for picking it up.

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