by William Campbell Powell
Cover Artist: Aaron Goodman Studios
Review by Bill Lawhorn
Tor Teen Hardcover ISBN/ITEM#: 9780765338280
Date: 22 April 2014 List Price $17.99 Amazon US / Amazon UK
When most humans lose the ability to have children, the loss of hope leads to chaos. An alternative arises that calms people down to give humans the chance to recover. The creation of lifelike robots, gives people an outlet for their nurturing natures. People are able to convince themselves that the robots are their natural children for a time. But what to do when the illusion fades? A system is developed, but it is hard for some.
Tania Deeley is born into this world. Teknoids are a fact of life. It seems that nobody knows for sure how many Teknoids are around. Drastic changes in a short time reveals one. Accidents are another source of knowledge, as a bad wound can reveal the parts. An accident in London will change Tanias life, she now knows a teknoid. She must decide how to acknowledge her information.
The story isn't all human robot relations. Most of the tale is about a girl growing up in a world where all her friends may be lost to her as they turn 18. In our world this indicates the time when people move on from their family's protection. In Tania's world it is a time when Teknoids go back to the factory to be recycled.
I was drawn to the concept of this book. The action unfolds in a series of diary entries written by Tania. There are brief interludes that take the reader forward many millennia to an archaeologist that is searching for a purpose and reason to go on. This archaeologist is reading Tania's diary. I was a bit hesitant when I first started reading, but it worked. This a great first novel and I look forward to future work by William Campbell Powell.
I have not read many diary style novels. Mostly the diary stories I have read are shorter fiction. This is not a format for everyone, but the struggles, if not the events, that Tania faces are universal. The theme of not fitting in and being different is one to which teens can relate. Love in its many forms are also explored as is loss and dealing with changes. Teens are familiar with diaries and should have no trouble following the action.