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Petri Quinn can’t wait to turn 16 so she can join Glaze, the all-inclusive network which will allow her to do pretty much anything. But is Glaze quite as wonderful as she thinks?
Kim Curran’s latest YA novel has a lot of interesting things to say about the surveillance society, and about our willingness en masse to sleepwalk into a situation that we eventually realise (or worse, don’t realise) is against what we think we believe in. Curran’s trilogy for Strange Chemistry (which concludes with Delete shortly) tackles similar themes in places, but here it feels more personal: her protagonist has the normal hopes and fears of adolescents but lacks the power that her peers have, which ironically gives her the upper hand.
It’s a story set in the proverbial ‘day after tomorrow’ – 2017 is some point in the recent past – which allows Curran to extrapolate some of the less pleasant sides of our social network-obsessed society (he says, writing a review for an internet site which he’ll promote on Facebook and Twitter…) It’s quite intriguing to compare this with the early David Tennant Doctor Who story Rise of the Cybermen, which started from a moderately similar point, with everyone bound together by the ‘voices in their head’.
Curran blends the emotional beats with the action ones well; the political element which comes to the fore in the final act is perhaps a little more simplistic than it might have been (and I’m still not sure after reading it what the international ramifications of the final battle are). However, by this point you will have become invested in Petri’s struggle (and animal lovers will be particularly incensed by one dastardly deed committed by the bad guys), and these are the sorts of questions that occur later. A sequel, expanding the idea globally, would be interesting to read.
Verdict: A fast-paced read with some challenging ideas woven into the story. 8/10
Click here to order Glaze from Amazon.co.uk