Kemper's Reviews > Husk

Husk by J. Kent Messum
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really liked it
bookshelves: 2017, dystopia, sci-fi, thriller, signed-by-author

I received a free copy of this for review from the author.

**I'm reposting the review because this is now being published as a Kindle e-book on May 1, and it's only $2.99 if you pre-order.**

In a dystopian near future a handsome young man named Rhodes has a lucrative illegal business as a Husk which means that he essentially rents out his body to rich people No, not like that, you perverts. These are dead rich people…OK, now I'm gonna have to ask you to leave because that’s just sick. Go on. Close the door on your way out.

Where were we? Right, so the deal is that the richest people have found a way to cheat death and download their consciousness into computers, but playing Halo and trolling on Twitter gets boring after a while so they can rent a Husk and have a human body for a few days. Rhodes enjoys the money plus it’s a lot better than being one of the millions of suckers who can’t earn a living at a regular job, but his clients seem to be increasingly less concerned with damaging the merchandise. (You know how nobody really cares what happens to a rental car they’re driving? Same principle.) Plus, he’s started having weird flashes to things that aren’t his memories.

Most of the book is essentially a sci-fi conspiracy thriller, and it functions pretty well as that. I was a little let down that it didn’t do a bit more contemplation about identity and its relation to the physical body. However, Messum does a lot in the first person narrative that has Rhodes becomingly increasingly aware that while he thought he was just renting out his physical self that he might have been peddling something far more precious so essentially it becomes an extended metaphor on prostitution. So we do get some deeper themes on the idea that you can’t entirely separate the body from the mind.

The third act seemed like it was in jeopardy of turning into a pretty standard action and revelation style plot, but it swung back around to deliver some genuine surprise at the end. Overall, even though some elements are familiar it ends up being an entertaining story with enough meat on the bone to give your brain something to chew on.
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Reading Progress

December 7, 2016 – Started Reading
December 7, 2016 – Shelved
January 10, 2017 – Finished Reading

Comments Showing 1-9 of 9 (9 new)

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message 1: by Ellen (new)

Ellen Lee Same premise as Lissa Price's Starters, except that was a YA book. And we already rent out our bodies, 40 hours or more a week. Seems to me that the risk of "damaging the goods" would be pretty high (which was covered pretty well in Starters). I'm lactose intolerant so my biggest fear would be that the person who rented my body would pig out on ice cream and wear unfashionable shoes.


Kemper And we already rent out our bodies, 40 hours or more a week.

Yeah, but I don't come out of a blackout work week with broken bones and riddled with STDs. Well, I mean that doesn't usually happen....


message 3: by Mir (new)

Mir There's also Altered Carbon, in which the choice of letting someone use your body may not be up to you.


Kemper Miriam wrote: "There's also Altered Carbon, in which the choice of letting someone use your body may not be up to you."

That's been on my to-read list for a while but never have gotten around to it.


message 5: by Sharon (new) - added it

Sharon Sold...awaiting my copy in high anticipation


message 6: by Tal (new) - added it

Tal M. Klein Kemper wrote: "Miriam wrote: "There's also Altered Carbon, in which the choice of letting someone use your body may not be up to you."

That's been on my to-read list for a while but never have gotte..."


Oh man, I cannot wait to read your review of Altered Carbon.


Kemper Sharon wrote: "Sold...awaiting my copy in high anticipation"

Hope you enjoy it.


Kemper Tal wrote: "Oh man, I cannot wait to read your review of Altered Carbon...."

Unfortunately, it's entered that limbo of books I keep saying I'll read someday without ever actually making it on deck.


Chip Altered Carbon far, far better than Husk. It and its sequels straight up (why “up”, versus “down”?) your alley Kemper.


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