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(Persona #1)

3.35  ·  Rating details ·  626 ratings  ·  165 reviews
An acerbic thriller from a Nebula award finalist, set against the backdrop of a near-future world of celebrity ambassadors and assassins who manipulate the media to the point where the only truth seekers left are the paparazzi.

When Suyana, Face of the United Amazonia Rainforest Confederation, secretly meets Ethan of the United States for a date that can solidify a relation
Hardcover, 320 pages
Published March 10th 2015 by Saga Press (first published March 1st 2015)
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Ken Ransom Mamarazzi would be a red flag. Paparazzo might be correct, but paparazzi is commonly used for both singular and plural. Didn't give it a second…moreMamarazzi would be a red flag. Paparazzo might be correct, but paparazzi is commonly used for both singular and plural. Didn't give it a second thought until I read your question. (less)

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Mogsy (MMOGC)
2 of 5 stars at The BiblioSanctum

In the not-too-far future, the International Assembly (sort of like a version of the UN) is about to meet, and ambassadors from different countries are preparing to cast their votes. However, these individuals have no actual power and serve as nothing more than a mouthpiece for their handlers, the people who are in charge in truth. Suyana Sapaki is one of these “celebrity figureheads” who represents the public face of her
Dec 11, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Ana’s Take:

In Genevieve Valentine’s near-future political thriller Persona, celebrity ambassadors are the public Faces of each nation (or confederation) parroting political decisions that are made behind closed doors by more important people. Diplomacy is only a matter of life of death when/if the Faces don’t conform.

Enter Suyana Sapaki, the Face of the struggling United Amazonia Rainforest Confederation, whose precarious position as its Face is about to suffer another hit: when she is getting r
Feb 20, 2015 rated it liked it
The book "Persona" is a political eco-thriller concerning the Brazilian jungle, the politics involved in it's preservation utilizing a terrorist group, and the politicians from the region.

There are two POV characters, one is a Korean photographer, the other is Suyana Sapaki the representative of the United Amazonian Rainforest Confederation.

When an assignation attempt is made on Suyana, the attempt is foiled by Daniel Park a photographer hidden in an alley near the attempted murder.

The book conc
Jan 20, 2015 rated it really liked it
Received a galley through S&S!

Very different from my usual fare, but then my resolution this year was to extend my genre boundaries even more and I've been doing a decent job so far.

"Persona" is a near-futuristic, character-driven techno-political-thriller(ish) and yes it is awesome. Suyana and Daniel are each flawed and sympathetic and kick-ass in their own ways, as is the varied supporting cast. The action is brisk, the setting is engaging, and DAMN this would make a great movie. Ecoterror
Sep 08, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: sf
Genevieve Valentine's Persona is a great near future political thriller, full of interesting tech and realistic detail. I look forward to reading the sequel.
Fast-moving plot of political shenanigans and assassinations. I really liked Suyana and just how analytical and cold she was at assessing her situation and resources. Understood Daniel's conflicted feelings and actions.
Rachel Neumeier
Oct 06, 2016 rated it really liked it
I really didn’t like the sample, which presented a protagonist who didn’t appeal to me in a situation that appealed to me even less. But various bloggers persisted in commenting about their love for this book, so when it appeared at a sale price, I picked it up and eventually (with some trepidation) went on with it just to get it off my TBR pile.

Then I wound up really enjoying Persona — and admiring the writing a great deal. I admire the adroit way Genevieve Valentine moves back and forth in tim
Mar 23, 2015 added it
Fascinating work that builds to a poignant and beautiful conclusion.

The start was rough, for this reader—the book jumps straight into a Big Inciting Incident before we know the central players well enough to care about them. Our Heroine and Our Hero are running from assassins as of page 20, and I'm all for people not getting assassinated, but I wanted more personal investment. Gradual backfill over the first hundred pages gave me enough information about Suyana's and Daniel's histories, goals, a
Mar 24, 2015 rated it it was ok
Shelves: science-fiction
There's a lot of action that keeps the characters moving and the wheels spinning, but when it comes down to it, all the busy-ness is just a cover for the fact that the whole thing is pretty shallow, and not a lot actually happens. The whole idea of an all-powerful United Nations (here called the IA), with teenaged supermodel ambassadors ("Faces") running the world (while their handlers pull the strings behind the scenes) doesn't pass the suspension-of-disbelief test. This is supposed to take pla ...more
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Persona by Genevieve Valentine is an excellent novel. This probably will come as no surprise to those of you who have read the author’s two previous, critically acclaimed novels, Mechanique and The Girls at the Kingfisher Club, but as a newcomer to Valentine’s works I was quite blown away. (I should probably add that, based on feedback from friends and on those two books’ blurbs, Persona appears to be very different from her earlier work.)

Persona starts off in near future Paris, where Suyana Sap
Jun 19, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: ownage, thriller, urban, 2015
Loved it. My only complaint about this book is that there isn't more of it. (But I'm pleased to note that there will be.) It's so sharp, it's so effortless in the way that the blade of the plot keeps moving in one fast slice and leaves behind layers of world and nuance and commentary and character. I love that Suyana is both impossibly capable and amazingly human, and that Daniel is such an interesting mess. The buffet of amazing diversity in the main cast is gravy, but wonderful gravy. (Oh Grac ...more
Jeffrey Grant
My first thought after finishing this book was that it's thin; there's not a lot of "there" there.

The book is set on a basically modern Earth where "Celebutante" culture has been institutionalized; people chosen for their looks and personality represent major governments publicly, and "snaps" (read: paparazzi) constantly follow them around trying to get the scoop on the lives of the "Faces" outside what their official behavior and look are. When the Face of the United Rainforest Republics is th
I picked this up on a whim after noticing the cover art on a library table - ended up really enjoying it.

There's a special place in my heart for spec fic that doesn't neatly fit into any particular sci-fi or fantasy or alternate history category: think The Handmaid's Tale or Into the Forest or more recently, Station Eleven. Like those books, Persona sets one firm thing in the near future and then just runs with "What if?"

In this particular case, it's celebrity culture and the United Nations. In
Disclaimer: I received a copy of this novel from the publisher in exchange for an honest and unbiased review.

My Summary: Suyana is a representative of the United Amazonia Rainforest Confederation - known as a Face. Each country has their own Face - like a representative in the UN - and each Face is tasked with the representation and diplomatic responsibilities of their country. Anyone can be a Face ... as long as they look and act a certain way.

When an attempt is made on Suyana's life, she only
Hayley Stone
Feb 09, 2016 rated it it was ok
The story began solidly, but fizzled out for me halfway through. Once it became a Whodunnit—or rather a Who Tried to Dun It—I quickly lost interest.

As a political thriller, the novel is only partly successful, as all the political machinations feel very superficial, due to the nature of the Faces roles in the government; they are puppets, for the most part, with little influence over how things shake out on the national stage. Suyana is something of the exception, given (view spoiler)
Mar 11, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: science-fiction
Valentine is the friend of a friend, and I've been reading her blog for some time. I really loved her first two books, but what I particularly enjoy about her blog is her hilarious-yet-on-point analysis of awards shows and beauty pageant costumes. So I was really excited about this book--the scenario is we've gone ahead and made the UN representatives celebrities, with all the craziness that comes with evaluating celebrities on things that have nothing to do with their jobs.

The thing is, an eve
Feb 24, 2015 rated it liked it
Actual rating would be 3.5 stars. Persona was intriguing, with intriguing characters, and a fast-paced mystery that left me (and the protagonist) wondering whom to trust. I thought the book could have benefited from more world building, however. I understand there's an International Assembly attended by Faces, who act as diplomats but are more like media representatives for their countries. Specs are like paparazzi-journalists, in a world that no longer seems to have freedom of the press due to ...more
Jun 03, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2015, stars-4-0
Great eco-political thriller. Action and thought-provoking concepts are mixed expertly: the nature of power, international politics, terrorism, and journalism/paparazzi. And all wrapped up in the fickleness of diplomatic role playing. Sounds very dry but this is anything but. The narration switches between Suyana and Daniel's point of views. This works very well in furthering the action plot as well as allowing us to uncover the layers of these amazingly complex characters.

I've only discovered G
First Second Books
It's great to get to read an honest-to-goodness science fiction thriller -- something with action and adventure and kidnapping and running from the law and having to be clever! Genevieve's writing, as usual, was delightful.
Jan 01, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This isn't my first read by Valentine, and that's exactly why I decided to kick off 2018 with it. I knew what she was capable of in Mechanique and The Girls at the Kingfisher Club so I was prepared for a tale of similar caliber here, but I have a little secret: This is actually my second time reading this.

The first time, I'm gonna go ahead and admit this, I got through the first chapter and was thoroughly confused. What year is this? Where's it taking place? Why do Faces matter so much? And, si
Book #14 for 2017
Follow the Clues Challenge: Trail 1, Clue 4
PopSugar Challenge Prompts (max 3):
- An espionage thriller
- A book where the main character is a different ethnicity than you
- The first book in a series you haven't read before
Read Harder Challenge Task: A book wherein all point-of-view characters are people of color
Book Bingo Possible Squares:
- A Book with Multiple Perspectives
- A Book with an LGBTQA Character
Better World Books Challenge Task: A book set in a place you want to visit (
Aug 05, 2017 rated it really liked it
A very cool thriller that doesn't read like a thriller (my style!), and an intriguing sci-fi premise.
May 11, 2015 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Diplomats
Recommended to Alan by: Shelf perusal and Goodreads, in that order
Genevieve Valentine's novel Persona hugs the road like a well-built sports car, twisting and turning at tremendous speeds but always solidly grounded, a sheer delight to drive... I mean read. Part of that's probably just in contrast to the last couple of novels I've read, which were pretty tough sledding, but most of it's simply because Valentine's very good at what she does. Her writing is light and easy to read, but never superficial. And Persona is thrilling, but not a traditional thriller. F ...more
Devyn Jayse
Mar 03, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2017, scifi
Good read. Would like to read the sequel.
Mar 14, 2015 rated it really liked it
An important part of satire is that it seem at least distantly plausible, given the circumstances of the world it's written in. Swift's A Modest Proposal only makes sense in a world where everyone is freaking out what to do about the problem of the Irish. Similarly, this book couldn't have been written in a pre-reality show era, because no one would understand that pretty media stars are actually negotiating much more complex worlds than we are aware of.

I loved this book as an answer to all the
Morgan Dhu
Feb 14, 2016 rated it really liked it
Genevieve Valentine's near-future political thriller is a roller-coaster read with a strong protagonist and a lot to say about colonialism, ecological racism, international politics and power.

Earth is loosely governed by the International Assembly (IA), which appears to function rather like a beefed-up United Nations. Global issues are decided - at least nominally - by the assembly, but most decisions are made behind closed doors, side-deals between countries are common, and the votes are just
Jul 07, 2015 rated it it was ok
Suyana is the public face (called a Face, reasonably enough) of her country's diplomatic efforts. Told what to say, how to say it, and even who to have relationships with, every second of Suyana's life is chronicled and controlled. But an assassination attempt breaks her ordered life down, and Suyana goes on the run with the paparazzi who accidentally chronicled her near miss with death.

io9's review excited my interest in this book. I didn't end up liking it as much as the reviewer seemed to hav
Jan 10, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-in-2016
This was so refreshing. Were there even any white people? Like one dude, who was the only American and also ultimately unimportant?

I don't think this author has mastered the art of thrillers, though. It didn't drag me page-to-page like Lexicon or Jurassic Park (which in my opinion are at the top of this genre). I've been trying to think why that is, though, and I think it's actually pretty simple - the plot isn't *that* "thrilling". No particular moment in the book just blew my mind the way good
Oct 28, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: reviewed
I loved how the two main characters, each being a mystery to the other, also maintain some core privacy from the reader about their deepest selves. Over the course of the book they reveal themselves cautiously as they are stripped to their vulnerabilities, and I'm left feeling that their lives (and the world) contain depths not yet illuminated.

The premise - that international relations has evolved into, essentially, a 24x7 reality show with each nation embodied in a single person - required some
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Play Book Tag: Persona - Genevieve Valentine - 3 1/2 stars 2 9 Mar 25, 2016 11:06AM  
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Genevieve Valentine has sold more than three dozen short stories; her fiction has appeared or is forthcoming in Clarkesworld, Strange Horizons, Journal of Mythic Arts, Fantasy Magazine, Lightspeed, and Apex, and in the anthologies Federations, The Living Dead 2, The Way of the Wizard, Running with the Pack, Teeth, and more.

Her nonfiction has appeared in Lightspeed,, and Fantasy Magazine, a

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