Jewel's Reviews > Bliss

Bliss by Lisa Henry
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really liked it
bookshelves: z-2014-200-299, four-stars, mm, sci-fi, review-copy, dystopian

Thanks to the publishers and Netgalley for the review copy of this book.

Welcome to Beulah, where everything is picket fences and puppies. Where there is no crime (except there is), where there are no prisons (except there are) and where everything and everyone is Stepford creepy. Sound good? Step right up!

​What makes this book really frightening is I can almost see this scenario happening.​

Crime is almost unheard of in Beulah and they prefer to rehabilitate their criminals rather than imprison them.  The criminal pays restitution to their victim by serving them for seven years -- no matter how small the crime.  What isn't in the brochure, however, is that the rehabilitation is done with chips implanted at the base of the skull makes it very unpleasant and pretty much impossible to disobey in ANY way.  The citizens of Beulah actually think they are helping!  Everyone thinks that the chip is only for GPS (so they don't run away) and to curb violent tendencies. While it does those things, too, the chip is so much more.  Have I mentioned creepy?​

Rory was accepted for a job in Beulah as the executive assistant to a judge.  However, on his first day in town, he is assaulted by Tate, who was trying to create a distraction on his way out of town back to Tophet where he lives (and also where Rory is from).  

​So, Tate is assigned to Rory for rehabilitation, since it was Rory that Tate hit.  Rory, has no idea that Tate is incapable of refusing anything that Rory might ask for.  A recipe for disaster, for sure.​  Rory, of course, thinks the idea of his assailant living with him is more than a bit suspect, but he is fed the party line and he certainly does not wish to go back to Tophet, so he figures that the system must be working or there would be more crime, so maybe he should give the system a try. He gets a bad case of cognitive dissonance, but figures he is being paranoid because of where he is from.

Rory has no idea that Tate is being coerced.  None. Rory doesn't realize that he is raping Tate.

​And Tate... I feel awful for him.  He is essentially trapped inside his head with no way at all to get out.  If he even thinks about telling Rory about the chip he is in excruciating pain. That is worse than prison.  

So this is a book about how we shouldn't judge a city by it's very much too shiny appearance. Sometimes things we don't want to see or think about lurk beneath the surface. And unless people pay attention to the things around them, the danger could get ugly.

This was a difficult read. There were times I was literally reading between my fingers. The story telling was exceptional. I think the next couple books I read will be a bit lighter. This one was intense.

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Reading Progress

August 19, 2014 – Shelved
August 19, 2014 – Shelved as: to-read
August 26, 2014 – Started Reading
August 26, 2014 – Shelved as: z-2014-200-299
August 26, 2014 –
17.0% "I kinda wonder if Aaron has a chip. He's a little too enthusiastic..."
August 26, 2014 –
24.0% "My heart is breaking for Tate. He wants so much to ask Rory for help, but he can't. :("
August 26, 2014 – Shelved as: four-stars
August 26, 2014 – Shelved as: mm
August 26, 2014 – Shelved as: sci-fi
August 26, 2014 – Finished Reading
August 27, 2014 – Shelved as: review-copy
May 13, 2015 – Shelved as: dystopian

Comments Showing 1-2 of 2 (2 new)

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message 1: by Exina (new)

Exina Fantastic review, Jewel!

Jewel Thanks Exina! :)

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