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Implanted by Lauren C Teffeau. Book Review

Implanted book cover. A white background with a blue eye in the centre.

Emery Driscoll lives in a city which exists in a dome to protect it from a world made toxic by war. She is currently enjoying a life of the privileged who live near to the top of the dome with daylight and luxury, the poor and disposed live in its dingy base. Emery has been lucky, chosen to be given a superior education which will make it possible for her to finance her family’s move to the upper echelons and a better quality of life.

But Emery’s plans for the future take a sudden and sinister turn when a covert organisation intervenes to give her an ultimatum. Join them and her family will lead a much better life than they could have ever imagined, refuse and the reverse will be true. She has what they want. The type of blood that can be used to transport data covertly. The catch is her death will be staged and she can never make contact with her friends or loved ones again.

Implanted begins innocuously enough, with Emery partying and enjoying life like any young student. There is little hint of what is to come, although we are left with the impression of a world of haves and have nots.

The worldbuilding is very good, leaving me with a clear visualisation of the airy, loftiness of the higher areas of the dome and the dark, dank, claustrophobia of the lowest levels.

The pace really begins to pick up when Emery becomes a courier going by the name of M-37. The descriptions of the missions and her subsequent flight from a job gone wrong are really what made the story for me, and was the difference between this and many other post-apocalyptic world novels where all the inhabitants are safe in a dome and the outside may or may not be close to being habitable. Lauren Teffeau is excellent at putting over action in writing, making you out of breath as you follow Emery through her various escapes.

When Emery meets the Disconnects who do not have implants which enabled them to be connected to everything, including social media, you really begin to question to what degree the authorities are right or wrong in what they are doing.

Her romance with activist Randall is founded on the basis that the relationship has to work hard because effectively it is one that has to be rekindled while she is on the run. In this world intimacy is more about being connected through your mental implants. That level of connection is something you would not want to easily agree to unless the other person was meaningful to you. Much of the development of this relationship is about Emery agreeing to this degree of mental connectedness.

Because of the style of writing, age group of the younger characters and general worldbuilding Implanted is a novel which would work as an older YA novel as well as one directed primarily at the adult market.

Implanted was courtesy of Angry Robot via NetGalley.

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