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Book Review: Individutopia – Joss Sheldon

Individutopia is enjoyable to read, whether you read it at face value or consider the political/dystopian elements of the plot. Now, I’m not much of a politician, so don’t expect too much rambling from me on that side of the fence. I do think some of the ideas, although extreme, are interesting though. I’ll discuss that in more detail later.

 

*** I was kindly provided with a copy of Individutopia by the author in exchange for a review. All the opinions stated are my own***

Individutopia

Goodreads – Individutopia

THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS SOCIETY

Beloved friend,

The year is 2084, and that famous Margaret Thatcher quote has become a reality: There really is no such thing as society. No one speaks to anyone else. No one looks at anyone else. People don’t collaborate, they only compete.

I hate to admit it, but this has had tragic consequences. Unable to satisfy their social urges, the population has fallen into a pit of depression and anxiety. Suicide has become the norm.

It all sounds rather morbid, does it not? But please don’t despair, there is hope, and it comes in the form of our hero: Renee Ann Blanca. Wishing to fill the society-shaped hole in her life, our Renee does the unthinkable: She goes in search of human company! It’s a radical act and an enormous challenge. But that, I suppose, is why her tale’s worth recounting. It’s as gripping as it is touching, and I think you’re going to love it…

Your trusty narrator,

PP

 

My Thoughts…

Our narrator is a consistent 3rd person, following the life of Renee Ann Blanca quite intimately. Born into a world with scarcely any human contact, she is raised by a robot until she is old enough to fend for herself. She lives in a pod she cannot even stand in and surrounds herself with virtual avatars to make up for the lack of human company. Renee is stuck in a monotonous, desperate lifestyle of competing against others… until she breaks free.

Individutopia is a nice length – not so short that you don’t have time to get into the narrative but equally it isn’t repetitive, or slow. The light, conversational tone makes the topic less formal and therefore more approachable to the potential reader. In an informal fashion, the novel portrays the differences in the two parallels – society and individualism. I find the tone of the book to help in achieving this without being rigid, forced, or dull.

The time period the narrative takes place in is some years into our future. The social (or lack of) environment is completely alien and to an extent, a degree of world building is required to set the scene. Joss achieves this well, by introducing the reader to various aspects of the “alternative world” (for want of a phrase) gradually and consistently. Clearly, a lot of time and effort has gone into developing this novel. It pays off.

There are a few elements of Invidutopia’s narrative that are a little closer to home than we may like to think. Everything is a competition. Renee is constantly ranked against others. The mindset Renee grows up with is to work, constantly. Those that do not are shamed for it… practically spat upon, if they could see each other to do it, that is.

 

Individutopia today?

Are we pitted against each other? Are we pressured to be the best or look the best now, never mind in this dystopian world? Absolutely! Magazines, television and social media have proven to be huge catalysts to this ideology. Social media has also proven a nasty culprit for isolation – isn’t that ironic.

And here is another thought, ladies, and gents. Be honest, how many of you opt to put your headphones and listen to music privately in your downtime?

I do. I’m guilty. Once upon a time, our forebears couldn’t get out of that awkward chat on public transport by putting headphones in, or spend their lunch hour avoiding as many people as possible. Are we already setting ourselves up for an individualistic world in the future? I hope that nothing as extreme as that in Individutopia comes to pass. It’s an interesting question though.

 

Sunday Summary

Sunday Summary – 29th July 2018

I look forward to writing my Sunday Summary post every week. I know it’s hard to believe, but the art of committing my week to paper a blog post JUST pips the prospect of looking forward to a 6:40am start the following day.

I’m weird, right?!

This week I have been back to the early starts and long days. I already wish I have another holiday to look forward to. Getting back into the blogging routine has been both joyously familiar and hard work. It’s easy to get out the habit, I think. Not only that, I don’t exactly do things by halves. This will be my fourth blog post this week, which is a rarity.

I posted my first Top Ten Tuesday for a while, and this time I focussed on the books I am looking forward to re-reading at some point. Most of them are either books read in my childhood/teenage years, or influential books that cover difficult topics.

On Friday, I was a part of the cover reveal for book four of the Gemeta Stone series by Donna Migliaccio, Ragis. As a part of that cover reveal, there is currently a giveaway for a chance to win a necklace just like the Gemeta Stone itself. Don’t leave it too late to get your entry in!

Then, yesterday, (slightly later than billed, sorry) I shared my review for A Darker Shade of Magic by V. E. Schwab. I originally intended to read this book earlier on in the year, but as usual, things get in the way. Anyway, I finally got there!

 

Books Read

Children of Blood & Bone

Not only have I been busy at work and generally getting back into the daily grind – ahem… routine, I’ve also been catching up with friends and family since coming back from my trip. The yarn I am setting up here is that I didn’t get to read as much as I had hoped. This week, I have made progress with reading Children of Blood & Bone by Tomi Adeyemi, but that’s all. Usually I have at least two books listed here – but, as I said, I’ve been busy. I’ll be better I promise!!

 

Books Discovered

I added one book to the list this week, which is pretty restrained for me. I have enjoyed reading a couple of historical fiction novels based around Ancient Egypt. With that in mind, I’ve added The Woman Who Would Be King: Hatshepsut’s Rise to Power in Ancient Egypt to the list!

Whilst not strictly an addition to the list (because it’s already on there), I purchased a copy of The Book Thief by Markus Zusak this week. I originally added The Book Thief to my TBR in June last year, but as the opportunity came up to get hold of a copy – I did!

 

Coming Up…

I feel like I say this EVERY SINGLE TIME, but its August next week. I’m just going to let that sink in. AUGUST!!! It barely feels like two minutes ago since I was saying that about March. Anyone who says time doesn’t run away from you faster the older you get is a liar.

A new month means a new reading list! Tuesday’s are a great day for me to post, so if you want to check out which books I’ll be reading (and maaaaayybe carrying over from this month – oops!), stay tuned. I am determined to get the first book on the list read because I have been trying to read it for ages and ages! I’ll be so disappointed if I don’t enjoy it now! Mind you, it is a recommendation from a friend and I think she has read the whole series. I trust her taste in books. I’m sure I’ll like it.

 

For my post on Friday, I want to write something a little different. My plan is still subject to change – maybe the feature topic in itself will change, but I want to write a discussion post. Once published, I would love some feedback if you can spare a moment or two.

 

 

Lastly, as ever, I’ll be rounding up the week in the usual manner.

 I hope you have a great week and I look forward to seeing you around! 

Sunday Summary: 1 October 2017

Good morning, from a very dreary, windy and rainy Sunday here!!
Another week comes and goes, and this one ends with the realisation that my holiday is over and I have to go back to work tomorrow…
I would much rather talk of the week of freedom I have had as opposed to the week ahead, so I’ll get straight on with it!
 

Books Read


On account of having the week pretty much to myself and only odd jobs to do around the house, I managed to get a fair bit of reading done! I started reading Dunstan last Sunday and at the point of writing my last Sunday summary, I was about 25% of the way through it. Well, I managed to finish this book on Wednesday this week and following on from finishing it, I picked up Making History by Stephen Fry. It was the first time I had ever read one of his books and I didn’t know what to expect. I actually picked this up as it was recommended to me by a work colleague and I wasn’t disappointed! I finished this book on Friday!
 

Books Discovered


I haven’t spent a single penny on books this week… *faints* I must be all shopped out from last week!! That being said, I have added books to the TBR, being Invictus by Ryan Graudin, Before It’s Too Late by Sara Driscoll, The Weight of Shadows by Karl Holton and That Inevitable Victorian Thing by E. K. Johnston.
I also noticed this week that a few of my blogging peers (yes you guys!) have been reviewing the latest novel by Allison Pearson, How Hard Can It Be? which was published last month. It got me thinking back to my school days and I remember starting to read the first book of this now series, I Don’t Know How She Does It. Regrettably I never finished the book, but I loved what I had read… so I’ve decided I am going to pick it up again. It also got me thinking about another quite different series I started reading back at school, being The Sword of Truth series by Terry Goodkind. I’m as far as the fifth book of the series, being Soul of the Fire.
I have been paying a lot of attention to some of the books going around the blogosphere lately and I have added one final book that has a lot of discussion lately… A Darker Shade of Magic by V E Schwab!
A Darker Shade of Magic
 

Coming Up…

Tuesday is review day – as always, and this week I am reviewing The Maze Runner by James Dashner. This is one of the exceptions to the rule in that I actually watched the film of this first. I still preferred the book though. More about that on Tuesday!!
On Friday I am taking part in a book tag. Technically I wasn’t tagged, it was kind of an open for all, but I decided to give it a go as it will let you all get to know me better. Hopefully…
Lastly, as ever, I will follow up the week with another post just like this one!!
If you have any thoughts I would love to hear from you! Have you read any of the books mentioned?
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