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Only a Little Blood by Hieronymus Hawkes
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it was amazing
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The pseudonymous Hawkes’ debut novel is an adrenaline-fueled near-future science fiction thriller that revolves around a revolutionary neurochip that has become so popular, it’s illegal not to have an implant. The chip does a variety of things, including manipulating hormones (who wouldn’t love a regular rush of endorphins?) and logging every moment of a person’s existence onto a lifelog. But when people start dying after a chip upgrade, Cole Westbay—who was influential in the development of the chip—is attacked and has his neurochip forcibly removed. When he regains consciousness, he can’t remember his last few days—and he is officially a fugitive from justice since he is no longer connected to the chip’s network. As more people continue to die Westbay investigates the circumstances behind his assault, only to uncover a massive conspiracy.

There’s a lot to like here. Hawkes used tension very well throughout, using the multiple layers of tension to power the narrative forward. The character development is solid as well—Westbay’s character is complicated by a tenuous relationship with an indecisive fiancée, who may or may not be involved in his troubles.

But the real power here is in the novel’s theme—humanity’s increasing hyperconnectivity, and the unforeseen consequences of that persistent connection. One excerpt from the novel speaks volumes: “Oh, I don’t blame them. I blame us. We created this environment. Have you ever sat in a restaurant full of young people? It’s freakishly quiet. Even in a group setting, they don’t talk to each other like we’re doing now. They just sit there, staring into space. It’s like eating in a restaurant full of zombies.”

Readers who like cerebral thrillers like those by Michael Crichton should check out this impressive debut.
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Reading Progress

Finished Reading
Finished Reading
January 28, 2021 – Shelved

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