Dystopian fiction

‘UK2’ by @TerryTyler4 #TuesdayBookBlog #BookReview

UK2

Amazon.co.uk

‘Two decades of social media had prepared them well for UK2.’

The pace steps up in this penultimate book in the Project Renova series, as the survivors’ way of life comes under threat.

Two years after the viral outbreak, representatives from UK Central arrive at Lindisfarne to tell the islanders about the shiny new city being created down south.  UK2 governor Verlander’s plan is simple: all independent communities are to be dissolved, their inhabitants to reside in approved colonies.  Alas, those who relocate soon suspect that the promises of a bright tomorrow are nothing but smoke and mirrors, as great opportunities turn into broken dreams, and dangerous journeys provide the only hope of freedom.

Meanwhile, far away in the southern hemisphere, a new terror is gathering momentum…

I read the previous two novels in this series ages ago and thoroughly enjoyed them both, and this third in the series certainly doesn’t disappoint.

I was worried I wouldn’t remember the ins and outs of the story, but I was back in this fabulously crafted dystopian world within a few pages, catching up with lovely Lottie (such a well-drawn character), her mum Vicky, dastardly Dex, poor little princess Flora and a cast of other, equally strong characters.

What works really well here is the dawning realisation of each of the characters that things aren’t what they seem. After everything that’s happened, they’re still hanging on to the idea that someone in charge will make it all go away, that someone else will sort it out and make them feel safe. The way each of them deals with the truth is so compelling, and it’s also what makes this book such a delight to read – it’s not difficult at all to imagine this happening.

My favourite storyline was Flora’s. She is so annoying, but I have a lot of sympathy for her. I have a sneaking suspicion I’d be a terrible wimp in similar circumstances, and to see her character develop the way it does is one of the highlights of the story.

As always with Terry Tyler’s novels, you get a great, believable storyline, and well-crafted, compelling characters. This is essentially about people, and how they cope in dreadful circumstances – and it’s written with real skill. The author is a natural storyteller, and her books never disappoint.

I won’t be leaving it as long to read ‘Legacy’!

5 stars

 

 

‘Lindisfarne’ by @TerryTyler4 #FridayReads #BookReview

11 aa aa aa Lind

Amazon.co.uk   Amazon.com

‘You’re judging this by the standards of the old world. But that’s gone. We don’t live there anymore.’

Six months after the viral outbreak, civilised society in the UK has broken down. Vicky and her group travel to the Northumbrian island of Lindisfarne, where they are welcomed by an existing community.

New relationships are formed, old ones renewed. The lucky survivors adapt, finding strength they didn’t know they possessed, but the honeymoon period does not last long. Some cannot accept that the rules have changed, and, for just a few, the opportunity to seize power is too great to pass up. Egos clash, and the islanders soon discover that there are greater dangers than not having enough to eat.

Meanwhile, in the south, Brian Doyle discovers that rebuilding is taking place in the middle of the devastated countryside. He comes face to face with Alex Verlander from Renova Workforce Liaison, who makes him an offer he can’t refuse. But is UK 2.0 a world in which he will want to live?

‘Lindisfarne’ is Book 2 of the Project Renova series. You can read my review of the first book, ‘Tipping Point’, here.

Vicky and Lottie and their new group of friends have travelled to the small island of Lindisfarne, where they find an existing community, and Vicky’s partner Dex, who she hasn’t seen or heard from since the outbreak. The community seems like a haven, and they quickly settle in, but, as with all societies, there is tension beneath the surface, and cracks begin to appear.

Having read the first in the series, I was itching to know what would happen next, and, if I’m honest, was wondering if the author could keep up the tension and the pace. This doesn’t disappoint. As with the previous book, the settings, the characterisation, the situations are all so well-drawn that it is easy to become totally immersed – which is what a good book should do. And this is a really good book.

The character development is so well done – completely plausible; it’s easy to see how Lottie has become strong and independent, how Vicky has begun to trust herself more, and how everyone still has their insecurities and issues that prevent them from making the right decisions. As with the last book, these characters are real, and they are vulnerable and they make mistakes.

What works so well though is the way that the changes in society, in the world, have allowed people to reveal their true selves. There’s no need to pretend anymore, and sometimes those true colours aren’t what you think.

Another page turner, definitely recommended. So looking forward to the next in the series.

5 stars

‘Tipping Point’ by @TerryTyler4 #TuesdayBookBlog #BookReview

Tipping-Point-New-cover4

Amazon.co.uk   Amazon.com

‘I didn’t know danger was floating behind us on the breeze as we walked along the beach, seeping in through the windows of our picture postcard life.’

The year is 2024. A new social networking site bursts onto the scene. Private Life promises total privacy, with freebies and financial incentives for all. Across the world, a record number of users sign up.

A deadly virus is discovered in a little known African province, and it’s spreading—fast. The UK announces a countrywide vaccination programme. Members of underground group Unicorn believe the disease to be man-made, and that the people are being fed lies driven by a vast conspiracy.

Vicky Keating’s boyfriend, Dex, is working for Unicorn over two hundred miles away when the first UK outbreak is detected in her home town of Shipden, on the Norfolk coast. The town is placed under military controlled quarantine and, despite official assurances that there is no need for panic, within days the virus is unstoppable.

In London, Travis begins to question the nature of the top secret data analysis project he is working on, while in Newcastle there are scores to be settled…

‘Tipping Point’ is the first book in the Project Renova series. And I’m so glad this is a series, because as soon as I’d finished this, I was straight onto the second instalment, ‘Lindisfarne’ (review to follow).

Terry Tyler is one of my favourite contemporary authors. I’ve loved everything I’ve read by her, particularly her family sagas. I wouldn’t call myself a fan of dystopian fiction, but I do love ‘The Walking Dead’ so I may well be a convert, particularly if I can find anything as good as this to read in the genre.

Because it is really, really good. And quite uncomfortably chilling. The build-up to the inevitable spread of the disease and the breakdown of society happens so subtly, so quietly at first, that you realise how horribly feasible it actually is that something like this could happen. And the characters are so believable, so real, that it’s even easier to picture. These people are just like you and me, their lives are like ours – this could happen.

And that’s really what is at the heart of this, and all of Ms Tyler’s books – real people, real lives. She has such a knack of capturing a place, a person, a time that you find yourself completely drawn in, completely absorbed.

Vicky and her daughter Lottie have normal, happy lives. Vicky’s partner Dex is a bit of a conspiracy theorist (justifiably in this case), which annoys Vicky, but she’s happy, loves her home, her town, her job. She’s content. And this makes it so much more gripping and involving when the rug is (very slowly) pulled from under her, and she has to face up to what is really going on.

I like Vicky so much because she doesn’t suddenly turn into a competent, brave, knowledgeable superhero. She’s scared and worried and she misses her hair straighteners! And she’s also terrified for her child and would do anything to protect her. And relationships are really what this book is about – within families and within society as a whole – and what we do to protect those we love and to try to hold on to what makes us feel safe and secure.

This is so well-written and an absolute page-turner.

5 stars