01 June 2011

Human.4 by Mike A. Lancaster

Kyle Straker volunteered to be hypnotized at the annual community talent show, expecting the same old lame amateur acts. But when he wakes up, his world will never be the same. Televisions and computers no longer work, but a strange language streams across their screens. Everyone’s behaving oddly. It’s as if Kyle doesn’t exit.

Is this nightmare a result of the hypnosis? Will Kyle wake up with a snap of fingers to roars of laughter? Or is this something much more sinister?

Narrated on a set of found cassette tapes at an unspecified point in the future, Human.4 is an absolutely chilling look at technology gone too far.

This book was very interesting. Kyle misses out on a vital reboot of the human brain and has to deal with the people who also missed the next brain OS while running away from the people out to get him. The plot is a great idea, and the execution is pretty good, leaving some great suspenseful moments that fit in well without feeling over-foreshadowed. Where the book falls short, however, is in characterization. Although the plot sparkles there doesn't feel like there is as much invested as their could be because the characters don't draw you in to their situations and make you feel for them. I was not really invested in Kyle's relationship with Lilly for the same reason. There was tension coming from the plot that kept me reading, but it was more to find out what the next twist was rather than how the characters would get out of their current situation. The book was also rather short (231 pages) and I really feel that it could have benefited from another 50 or so pages of character development pre-fair to make the characters as strong as the plotting.

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