Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Expiration Day

 Author: William Campbell Powell
Goodreads rating: 3.72
Pages: 336
Format: ARC from ALA14

What happens when you turn eighteen and there are no more tomorrows?
It is the year 2049, and humanity is on the brink of extinction….

Tania Deeley has always been told that she’s a rarity: a human child in a world where most children are sophisticated androids manufactured by Oxted Corporation. When a decline in global fertility ensued, it was the creation of these near-perfect human copies called teknoids that helped to prevent the utter collapse of society.

Though she has always been aware of the existence of teknoids, it is not until her first day at The Lady Maud High School for Girls that Tania realizes that her best friend, Siân, may be one. Returning home from the summer holiday, she is shocked by how much Siân has changed. Is it possible that these changes were engineered by Oxted? And if Siân could be a teknoid, how many others in Tania’s life are not real?

Driven by the need to understand what sets teknoids apart from their human counterparts, Tania begins to seek answers. But time is running out. For everyone knows that on their eighteenth “birthdays,” teknoids must be returned to Oxted—never to be heard from again.

 This was a mildly interesting book with a very interesting concept. In the future, apparently people can't have children (which doesn't bode well for the human race in the long run but we just put that thought behind us) so people buy robot children and also buy into an illusion of being an actual family (the kids often don't know they are robots).

The book is set up to be the diary of 11 year old Tania. This is a unique way to narrate this story which I thought was very clever. It had a very interesting tone but typical of an 11 year old (even when she pretends she is writing to an alien named Zog). However, some of the euphimisms were hard to distinguish. Whether this was due to the British setting or the future setting (or a combo of both) I'm not sure. There are also little "intervals" where you get to hear from "Mr. Zog"... and not fully sure who he is supposed to be. Those bits and the ending were pretty confusing.

Overall, this wasn't really what I call a quick read. It is pretty much like reading the diary of a mildly interesting person. It was interesting to see the robot vs human prejudice and liked how they went into the debate on what is life at the end. It makes you really think about what it means to be human.

Speaking of which, the end was very touching. I kind of guessed the outcome but still felt a bit of emotion that almost made me tear up.

The mild interest this book elicited from me was the reason this book was a 3/5 for me. Though it is worth reading for the "what is life/what does it mean to be human" theme and the touching ending.

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