Glaze by Kim Curran – Book Review [Bane of Kings]

Glaze

Milo, aka “Bane of Kings”, covers Kim Curran’s latest Young Adult novel, entitled Glaze, a self-published science fiction book written by the author of the Shift series for Strange Chemistry Books. This novel is a standalone book released in May 2014. 

“An excellent read from Kim Curran,who delivers a fascinating book with some compelling characters and a strong, thought provoking narrative that remains compelling throughout. Highly Recommended – this could well end up being one of the best young adult novels of 2014.” ~Bane of Kings, The Founding Fields

Petri Quinn is counting down the days till she turns 16 and can get on GLAZE – the ultimate social network that is bringing the whole world together into one global family. But when a peaceful government protest turns into a full-blown riot with Petri shouldering the blame, she’s handed a ban. Her life is over before it’s even started.

Desperate to be a part of the hooked-up society, Petri finds an underground hacker group and gets a black market chip fitted. But this chip has a problem: it has no filter and no off switch. Petri can see everything happening on GLAZE, all the time. Including things she was never meant to see.

As her life is plunged into danger, Petri is faced with a choice. Join GLAZE… or destroy it.

I loved Kim Curran’s Shift when I read it towards the end of last year and for me it remains one of Strange Chemistry’s better books, despite the fact that they’re continuing to put out a strong slew of releases. This time though, Glaze isn’t coming from the Angry Robot YA Imprint, it’s self published – and works really well. If you like intelligent YA novels then you can’t go wrong here, because this book has a lot of things going for it. It’s smart, compelling, and thought provoking, taking place in a near future world with Social Media being a key thing. And on top of that, it has good characters – making this book the perfect novel to read if you’re a fan of the genre.

GlazeThe book itself explores Social Media in the future, with the fascinating concept of Glaze, where everybody over a certain age is hooked up to the Social Network in your head. Several things are no longer valid – you don’t need watches when you can look up the time on your eyelids for example, and the end result allows for a very interesting subject mater, set firmly in the Sci-Fi genre, with a world that could easily be ours. There’s nothing here that seems too far-fetched or implausible, and the book deals with the concept in a solid way that reminded me briefly of The Matrix – only, substitute the titular element for Social Network.

Petri is a test-tube baby, daughter of Zizi Quinn, who played a key role in developing Glaze. Her character is strongly developed and far from perfect, and whilst she may be a genius at Maths, she does suffer from a few problems that makes her flawed, believable and rootable. For example, one of them – she’s not connected to the Glaze. All of her friends are using the social network on a daily basis and all she wants to do is access it. However, when the Police believe she started a riot at one of the anti-Glaze Protests, she’s given a five year ban from Glaze, a year before she can get on it. Only, not only are there rumours that she’s going to get a lifelong ban from Glaze – it might not be as safe as everyone thinks it is.

On top of that, there are other characters as well that are thrown into the mix, and quite a lot of them. Unfortunately this means that not all of them leave a big impact on the reader, but the main cast leave a strong presence. Petri’s mother, Zizi, classmates Kiara and Ryan, Glaze owner Max and the enigmatic teenager Ethan are the most fleshed out, and all enhance the book and add their own touch to the novel so that they never feel like carbon copies of other characters. There’s depth. There’s chemistry – between Petri and Ethan and the rest of the cast, and it works well, with some strong dialogue and nothing that really feels forced.

Glaze is shaping up to be one of my favourite Young Adult novels of the year so far. It’s smart, intelligent, quirky and with some great characters that make it a compelling read. The pace is strong as well, with the book really kicking into gear towards the end, and despite the fact that it took me a while to get going I was really hooked around halfway through, and read the whole second half in pretty much one bus journey. It’s something that’s very different from Curran’s Shift books and not just in the way that there’s a female character rather than a male one.

This book is one of the better things to come out of the dystopian /young adult fiction genre. It’s different to the likes of The Hunger Games and its various copycats, and stands as a breath of fresh air in a genre that was starting to feel repetitive after too many books featuring female characters involved with love triangles in a world ruled by an ‘evil’ Government, and is also something that could really work well as a film adaption if given the right hands. If you’re a fan of Kim Curran’s previous work or looking for some good young adult fiction then this book should  be right up your street. Give it a try – trust me, you won’t regret it.

VERDICT: 9/10

Milo, aka Bane of Kings, is a SFF/Comic reader, and watches a lot of TV. His favourite authors are Neil Gaiman, China Mieville, Jim Butcher, Brandon Sanderson & Iain M. Banks, whilst his favourite TV shows are Battlestar Galactica (2003), Person Of Interest, Firefly, Game of Thrones, & Buffy the Vampire Slayer

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