Scifi dystopian romance and first read by this author.
Imagine a world where from the moment you are born you are tested and sorted into a strange class system. If you are lucky you will make it into the ‘jigsaw’ programme… you sole focus is to be made ready to marry and and have children and be the perfect spouse to your future husband or wife.
A world where material possessions..accommodation, clothing and even food, are portioned out depending on your status.. single, bride, wife… those who are lucky enough to have made it into the jigsaw programme want for nothing… everyone else.. well they aren’t so fortunate… bliss inc’s sole focus is the 99% correct equation..and the ‘bettering’ of the human species. But at what cost??
Valentine is waiting, at 25 she is far older than her friends who have gone on to marry and have children, she is lonely and restless and wants nothing more than to be a bride. With little or no thought to who her actual husband will be…Raised not to question anything and with high expectations of her future and her husband, she is more than devastated when she finally meets him on her wedding day.
Clark is aloof, cold, angry and adamant that he will never love Valentine…it’s clear that he has secrets and is not willing to share them with his new bride. Resigning herself to the fact that she will live in a loveless marriage and that her and Clarke will be friends, it’s not perfect but the alternative of being part of the 1% of failed matches is hard for her to believe… because Bloss Inc and the equation is NEVER wrong…is it?
I freaking adore dystopian themed books… but I love ones that make the reader ask ‘bigger picture questions’ and this book does that in spades. Such an original concept, I was drawn in from the first page and loved the blending of hi tech world and old fashioned arranged marriages.
The focus is obviously on Valentine, she is sheltered, shockingly nieve and unaware of the bigger picture… but this is how Bliss Inc has controlled the populace… by taking away individual choice.
So it no wonder when she meets Clark that she begins to recognise her lack of choice and how insulated she has been from the world. That her wonderful life is actually just a fancy prison and that there is actually a bigger picture hidden behind the sparkle.
The underlying sinister feel I got from the seemingly perfect world was wonderfully conveyed in the ‘hard light holograms’, upcyclers, male and female zones. I have to admit I did find myself chanting ‘soilent green’ and was left with an overall visual image of a world not shockingly dissimilar to the film Logan Run! This book had a true old school vibe of sci fi films to it which I bloody adored!
Kudos to the author for bringing such a brilliant blending of old and new and original concepts to make for a truely brilliant read!