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SA Partridge

@ Sunday Times Books LIVE

Review: Glaze

Glaze LEGO

I love are books that challenge readers to think for themselves. Think Suzanne Collin’s The Hunger Games, Veronica Roth’s Divergent and Cory Doctorow’s Little Brother – books that make the reader believe that they have a voice, a future and inner strength capable of facing any enemy. Glaze is a smart, slick book that does just that.

How many times have you Tweeted someone in the same room as you, or gone somewhere just so that you could Instagram it? I know I have.

There’s no question that social media is addictive. Millions of people only feel connected to the world if they’re online. Imagine how many hours people spend trawling through feeds and broadcasting their every thought.

Kim Curran takes social media addiction to the next level in Glaze where it’s impossible to survive in the real world unless connected to the network. And who wouldn’t want to be connected anyway? Glaze is the ultimate social media platform. When a person turns sixteen their Glaze chip is embedded at the base of their skull, and allows them to communicate, connect, access information, shop and even vote with nothing more than a blink of an eye. So in effect, life really does start at sixteen.

GLAZE_New_FinalsmTo fifteen-year-old Petri Quinn, Glaze presents a future brimming with the promise of boys, friends and parties. She’s been waiting for her turn her whole life. Sadly for our young heroine, being at the wrong place at the wrong time results in a wrongful arrest, and jeopardises her chances of ever accessing Glaze. Not even her mother, who has a high profile job at Whiteshield – the developers of Glaze – can help her.

Petri does the unthinkable and steals her mother’s DNA in exchange for a hacked chip. Too bad for her it turns out Glaze isn’t all that. The goofy, zoned out expression Glaze users wear has nothing to do with the latest tracks streaming in their ears twenty-four seven and everything to do with population control on a mass scale.

Petri’s actions cause a ripple effect and soon her mother finding out about what she did is the least of her problems.

This isn’t girl meets boy, happy ending stuff. This is an edge-of-the seat cyber thriller that will scare your socks off. The premonitory tone warns of the danger of social media as a tool to control the public. Think of the police state envisioned by Lauren Beukes in Moxyland and you’ll have some idea. The message is especially relevant in today’s climate of who’s watching who?

Glaze
certainly made me aware of how much time I spend online. Hell, I might even venture out without my phone for a change and see what the real world has to offer.

 

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