Tuesday, 11 March 2014

Book 55 of 2013: I Am Currency by Whitney L. Grady

I regularly go through Amazon looking for free Kindle books. Sometimes I go for whatever's popular, sometimes I hit up the free classics, and sometimes I go searching in a particular genre. Back at the end of last summer, inspired by my impending course, I downloaded a whole bunch of Children's and Young Adult Kindle books and finally dipped into I Am Currency by Whitney L. Grady at the beginning of October.

I Am Currency is set in a dystopic future, one in which a massive meteor strike has sent humanity back towards the dark ages with technology ceasing to function. Knowledge has become the currency of choice and books are hoarded as valuable resources. Nevel is a young man with a powerful secret, he has a photographic memory and is able to memorise books. This, coupled with his parents' involvement in the Underground Book Movement puts him in great danger and when one of his schoolmates figures out what he can do he is forced to go on the run, changing his whole life forever.

I downloaded this one when it was free, it's now for sale at £3.07, purely because I loved the premise. In a world where books are held in a central repository with access granted only once a year, I think I would go crazy. The cover is obviously reminiscent of The Hunger Games trilogy and so I figured it would appeal to me.

While I have to say the premise is great, I actually struggled with reading the book. It had some plot holes which I kept on wondering about; like the fact that knowledge has become currency - people go to a shop and tell someone something in order to purchase products. I understand the theory but struggled to get my head around how this would be an actual workable practice, especially as children are still sent to school. I think that this might have been handled differently to make the premise work more smoothly.

This story has a romance between Nevel, the boy with the incredible memory, and Quinn, the girl who starts of out to get him. It felt a wee bit contrived. One minute they were deadly enemies; she practically kills him in the process of hunting him down, and then the next minute they were making out. It felt like part way through the author had changed her mind about Quinn's actual role in the story and so rather than going back and changing the beginning, she just kept going with what she already had.

The thing is, it probably could've worked if Quinn hadn't started out as Nevel's enemy. They both could've been loners and then sort of drifted together with Quinn working out Nevel's secret. From there the relationship might have formed more naturally and been a little more believable.

I liked the Australian setting. I don't remember the last time I read a book set in Australia, let alone a dystopic future one. It made for a refreshing change, although I'll admit I started out the book thinking it was set in America and had to do a sort of mental shift when I realised early in the book that I had it wrong.

This is the first book in a series and leaves it open for Nevel's role in the next book. I have to admit it's unlikely that I'll go on to read that one, as much as I like the premise, I just struggled with the execution.

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Let me know what you think. :-)