Lea Kirino is a “Lifer,” which means that a roll of the genetic dice has given her the potential to live forever—if she does everything right. And Lea is an overachiever. She’s a successful trader on the New York exchange—where instead of stocks, human organs are now bought and sold—she has a beautiful apartment, and a fiancé who rivals her in genetic perfection. And with the right balance of HealthTech™, rigorous juicing, and low-impact exercise, she might never die. But Lea’s perfect life is turned upside down when she spots her estranged father on a crowded sidewalk. His return marks the beginning of her downfall as she is drawn into his mysterious world of the Suicide Club, a network of powerful individuals and rebels who reject society’s pursuit of immortality, and instead chose to live—and die—on their own terms. In this future world, death is not only taboo; it’s also highly illegal. Soon Lea is forced to choose between a sanitized immortal existence and a short, bittersweet time with a man she has never really known, but who is the only family she has left in the world. (From Goodreads)
I enjoyed the world building and setting here in this book. It’s set in the future, people now live much longer than normal. They are pumped up with various implants (e.g. Diamondskin) and follow a strict diet and exercise program, and even go as far as to reducing various activities that activate cortisol levels that put them on overdrive. It may seems appealing, because you live longer than the normal life span and you’re looking like a supermodel but at the same time there’s an underlying dictatorial tone where you have to follow the rules or you’ll be seen ‘different’ and won’t be qualified to have these perks anymore. Everything is dictated by the “Ministry” and once you fall off the path you’ll be observed by the men in black which could lead to potentially drastic results.
It’s an interesting world, where suddenly everything that you thought was normal isn’t anymore and is frowned upon. These special perks are not always granted to everyone because it’s also based on your genetics, your job, and your social standing as well. It’s appealing but at the same time it doesn’t sound so fun and it feels like you’re a drone.
The plot itself was interesting and follows two points of view. Lea and Anja. I prefer Anja’s point of view because she’s part of the underground Suicide Club movement for various reasons. She’s a carefree spirit who does what she wants despite society and its’ demands because she’s seen the other side of things and how it’s affected people she cares about (her mom in this instance). The two characters offer two very different perspectives in the novel and it all comes together nicely and seamlessly.
I rather enjoyed the part with Lea and Kaito on the boat. You feel the emotion and the sadness of what’s to come. You feel the regret of moments missed in life and although it can’t be made up in just one sitting, that one moment together still creates a powerful memory that stays with you – which no one can take away. It’s a bittersweet moment and the most memorable in the book.
Although the plot flowed through nicely, I can’t really say I like the writing style. It drags in some parts and it shows an attempt to be lyrical and poetic with way too many descriptions of smells and sights. I understand the point of it being that instead of becoming a drone like everyone else, stop and just live the moment and take in your surroundings. However it bogs down the reading flow and I found myself struggling to keep the pace. Less lyrical prettiness and let’s just get down to the basics shall we? It would have made the reading more enjoyable.
Overall, a great interesting idea and a good deep read. Worth the time to go through.
I give it a 6 out of 10.
Thank you Henry Holt and Co for the review copy!