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400 pages, Paperback
First published April 1, 2014
~Thank you HarperCollins Australia for sending me this copy!~
This book kept me up until 2 in the morning. TWO IN THE MORNING. I was absolutely useless the next day - the combination of lack of sleep and trying to recover from the sheer awesome that is this book was almost too much for me to bear.
An original, exciting science fiction thriller, Disruption is the first book in a new duology that explores the devastating effects of over-reliance on technology. In this case it's M-Bands, which are worn around the wrist and control your health and your wealth, and everything in between. For those eighteen and over, it also incorporates Phera tech, which claims to instantly tell you how compatible you are with anyone in a 2m radius using pheromones, in theory allowing you to pick your friends, lovers and life-partners without having to go through the awful guess-work that we do today. But of course, there's a dark side to it.
Enter Maggie, who knows about the dark side intimately. People are allowed three negative interactions a month. Any more, and they are taken away for questioning and then 'rehabilitated', the reasoning being that negative interactions allow for the prediction of future violence or other behaviour that can endanger the rest of society. Maggie's father was taken away for too many negative interactions and she will do anything to get him back.
Jessica Shirvington writes amazing characters so it's no surprise that I loved Maggie from the get-go. She's not perfect, and she knows it, but it doesn't seem important the face of all the hardship and injustice she has witnessed and experienced. Maggie needs to take on Mercer Corp and their M-Bands, and she's not going to do that by being nice.
The dynamic between Maggie and Quentin Mercer, the M-Corp heir, is different from that usually seen in YA. It's usually the boy who knows everything, and teaches her about the real world, and I love the reversal that Shirvington pulls off in Disruption. Quentin is absolutely clueless to what his world is really like, and he's easily manipulated by Maggie into helping her. She teaches him to navigate the black-market and then the underground tunnels, she introduces him to all her disreputable contacts, pushing, prodding, and generally orchestrating his betrayal of his family and all that they stand for.
This is not to say that their relationship isn't sweet or believable. The romance that grows between them is slow-burning and forms out of respect and grudging friendship, which has always been my favourite kind.
The world Shirvington has crafted in this book is detailed and evidently well researched. The science seems plausible and the execution is brilliant, never slowing down the action of the narrative with lengthly explanations or convenient monologues. At first I thought that there should have been more resistance to the idea of M-Bands and their widespread use, but then I realised that most forms of technology, if popular, become ubiquitous fairly rapidly. My only comment is that the technological monopoly that M-Corp has over the M-bands seems unlikely - when they were first introduced, why weren't there hundreds of companies that tried to emulate them? I would have thought a duopoly would be more likely (like Android and iOS in smartphones, for example).
Disruption is full of action that will set your heart racing (and keep you up to all hours of the night). It culminates with a brilliant plot-twist, which I'd begun to suspect but didn't give credence to (because surely not!), and will leave readers desperate for the next book, Corruption.
Disruption a sci-fi thriller in the purest form, and a fine example of it too. I think it has a wide appeal, because of the science fiction, action and romantic elements that it weaves together. Jessica Shirvington has proven, once again, that she is a very skilful and versatile storyteller. Grab a copy, devour it, and then join me in the wait for what comes next.