Thursday, 7 April 2011

The Immortality Virus - Christine Amsden (ARC)



Published : 2011
UK Price : Kindle £2.28 Here
US Price : Kindle $3.25 Here
Chapter 1 Preview Available Here

"The Immortality Virus" by Christine Amsden is the first ARC I have ever read and I actually stumbled across it by chance. The author posted a brief synopsis of the book and an offer to anyone wishing to read and review it on the Book Blogs Website and I came across that post and responded. The reason I responded was that the synopsis peaked my interest as it appeared to be a dystopian sci-fi adventure and I was happy to find out that this is exactly what it was as I read it.

The storyline is this, in the mid-21st century, humanity stopped aging without any explanation which becomes termed; "The Change". For the wealthy and elite, this means long life and health, but to the ever increasing masses it means starvation and suffering. In order words, the world has turned into a dystopian society full of darkness and misery where everyone ages to around their mid twenties and then stops.

Four centuries after "The Change", the heroine of the novel, a PI named Grace Harper is given an assignment to hunt down the man who is probably responsible. This sets in motion a dark journey through society as she attempts find this man, whilst various different elements try and use her to capture him for their own means.

I am actually amazed at how quickly I read it, I started on a Saturday morning and had completed it by the Sunday night. I ended up engrossed in the story and filled any of my free time with reading it. Any book that can do that is a winner in my opinion.

I really liked was the way that the darkness and misery of society was woven into the novel. The author didn't just set a scene at the beginning, she continually enhanced your picture and understanding of the world as the story progressed.

The main character of Grace Harper seems to have a sense of basic goodness within her. It is easy therefore to like and relate to her, especially when you see the type of society she currently inhabits. She is also quite cyincal, which can be seen in some her thoughts regarding various people in need that she comes across, however she always seems to end up helping them.

I have to say though that at times I wish it had another ending. I do understand why it ended the way it did, I just wish there could have been a way to end it differently. However, the ending we do get is in line with the feel of the entire novel and is probably the most realistic outcome based upon the world created. I just hope that we get to see something in the future that continues in some way from the ending as I really want to see what happens to the various characters.

One issue I do have with the novel is the cover; I basically just don't like it! The graphics look like something taken out of a computer game from a few years ago and I think it detracts from the overall product. The thing that actually caught my eyes when I saw the cover was the size of the breasts on one of the women which isn't really the type of thing a book like this wants to capture in my opinion. I have spoken to the author about the cover and it may get changed but there is no guarantee on this as it does rely on the publisher. As it stands at the moment I just worry it may put some people off from picking it up and reading what is a superb story.

Overall, I can simply say that I loved this novel; it kept me hooked right up until the end and still has me wanting more. I want to know how the politics of this world progress, I want to know what happens to the characters, I want to know if the misery of the majority of the human race can somehow be ended. I don't normally put book ratings on my blog but I have to say that this one is getting a 5 star on goodreads anyway! So go and check out the chapter 1 preview at the top of the post and see if it appeals to you.

Update 18th April 2011
Just thought I would post an update here to say that from what I can see on Amazon, the cover for this book has been changed from the one I initially saw. The cover now in place is better and that is something I am happy to see.