Book review stop! Today I’m delighted to be the host for Surrogate Colony, a dystopian novel written by Boshra Rasti.
First thing first, let me thank the author and the publisher, Atmosphere Press, for providing me with an e-copy of this book. Much obliged *hat tip*
MEET THE BOOK
In MicroScrep, a post-pandemic world, one politician, Arthur Mills, brings all scientists and engineers together to create a vaccine and rebuild a world where harmony ensues. What results is a society where algorithms control who you marry, who your child is, and what position you have.
Adriana Buckowski is not normal. Her eyes are two different colors, making her less susceptible to the system’s propaganda, she has a unique connection with a boy named Zach, and she has questions. Weird occurrences happen as she gets closer to her Calling Ceremony, where she’ll be given a position. When she finally starts piecing together the twisted motives at play in MicroScrep, she becomes a cog in the wheel of the state. Her only option for survival lies with Zach, and the hope that she will be vindicated through a vigilante group off-grid.
Publication date: 18/12/21
READ MY REVIEW
Cover: Clean and elegant. I like it.
Adriana and Zach live in a post-pandemic world called MicroScrep, where everything is regulated by algorithms and paranoia. From the outside, MicroScrep looks like an idyllic place: forget conflicts, forget diseases, forget everything that might upset the citizens. Harmony reigns supreme and unchallenged.
From the inside, well, it’s a living nightmare—and most people are unaware of it.
First thing first, I like the cautionary tale approach Rasti took with her book. Good intentions and the road to hell go hand in hand, and here, MicroScrep is the result. While Surrogate Colony belongs to the tried and true dystopian genre, the premise hits too close to home to reduce it to a mere ‘haha, it’s all fiction anyway’ punchline. Well done.
The two MCs are well-characterized. Adriana’s parts read a little stronger than Zach’s, probably because we reach his POV later in the game and Adriana gets more screen time. It’s a bit of a shame, since Zach is interesting and I would have loved to see his full arc, too.
The cast of characters is of a medium size and each of them has a strong, unique voice; the only exception is Laura because she doesn’t mature in the slightest. I’m cutting her some slack for reasons I won’t go into detail here; let’s just say she would have benefited from some shades of gray.
Overall, Rasti has a captivating voice and a strong sense of rhythm: when the story gets going, it really gets going, and her vivid narrative helps move things along.
If I had to point out an issue of Surrogate Colony, I’d mention the amount of information we get at the beginning. Some of it is required, given the dystopian setting and the world-building that goes with it; too much and there’s a risk of overwhelming the reader. It tapers down after the first part, so I guess it’s a matter of growing pains.
All in all, Surrogate Colony is a promising debut, and I’m sure Rasti is going to go places 🙂
3,5 stars on GR, rounded up to 4.
MEET THE AUTHOR
Boshra Rasti was raised in British Columbia, Canada and works as an expatriate teacher in Qatar. She received a Master’s degree in Educational Leadership at Royal Roads University, which proved a fateful blow to her belief in anything hierarchical. However, it did spark her desire to flee from the real world and start writing about other ones.
When she is not working to earn a living, she enjoys the escape that reading and writing lend her. She also enjoys physical running, even if it is of the sadistic variety in Qatar.