9 Nov 2017

#Review: LOCK IN by John Scalzi


Author: John Scalzi
Series: Lock In #1
Source: Audiobook via Audible
Publisher: Tor Books
Publication Date: August 26, 2014
Rating: 4/5 stars

A blazingly inventive near-future thriller from the best-selling, Hugo Award-winning John Scalzi.

Not too long from today, a new, highly contagious virus makes its way across the globe. Most who get sick experience nothing worse than flu, fever and headaches. But for the unlucky one percent - and nearly five million souls in the United States alone - the disease causes "Lock In": Victims fully awake and aware, but unable to move or respond to stimulus. The disease affects young, old, rich, poor, people of every color and creed. The world changes to meet the challenge.

A quarter of a century later, in a world shaped by what's now known as "Haden's syndrome," rookie FBI agent Chris Shane is paired with veteran agent Leslie Vann. The two of them are assigned what appears to be a Haden-related murder at the Watergate Hotel, with a suspect who is an "integrator" - someone who can let the locked in borrow their bodies for a time. If the Integrator was carrying a Haden client, then naming the suspect for the murder becomes that much more complicated.

But "complicated" doesn't begin to describe it. As Shane and Vann began to unravel the threads of the murder, it becomes clear that the real mystery - and the real crime - is bigger than anyone could have imagined. The world of the locked in is changing, and with the change comes opportunities that the ambitious will seize at any cost. The investigation that began as a murder case takes Shane and Vann from the halls of corporate power to the virtual spaces of the locked in, and to the very heart of an emerging, surprising new human culture. It's nothing you could have expected.
This is the first John Scalzi book I read, but it definitely won't be my last. I enjoyed every second of listing to the audiobook; however, I did have some issues with the pacing. I think part of that is because of the fact that I know there is a sequel and I'm a little confused as to where the story can go in the future. I would definitely recommend this book to anyone who enjoys SciFi and futuristic plot lines. I thought it was a good introduction to Scalzi's writing.

This is definitely an Adult novel and gets into a lot of adult themes, so I would just forewarn you about that if you are more inclined towards YA novels like I am. I thought that this was a good Adult SciFi novel and fit into those tropes while also breaking them. I did like the cross-genre aspects of SciFi and Detective novel. I like seeing how people imagine the police in the future and thought this one was a really interesting mix because of the type of technology and the fear of that technology that a lot of people have. 

I thought the characterization was really well done. I liked getting little pieces of information here and there to learn more about our main characters. I thought the way the characters handled their own inner conflicts and the external conflicts was really well done. I enjoyed reading about them and would like to do so in the future, so I am glad there is a sequel.

However, I'm not really sure where the story can go now. It seemed to resolve itself pretty well and I'm worried that a sequel - or even if this becomes a full time series - would ruin the best parts of this novel. I liked the aspects we were able to explore and while there is definitely more world that we could see, I am not sure that I necessarily want to do so. 

Overall, I would recommend this book, especially if you are looking to get into Adult SciFi novels. I wouldn't say this is a YA-Adult crossover, but it definitely has some elements that would make people who enjoy YA want to read it as well. I'll definitely be picking up more of Scalzi's work!

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