Title: Bricks (Halfskin #3)
Author: Tony Bertauski
Genres: Dystopia | Science Fiction | Speculative Fiction
Length: 325 pages | 4854 locations
After Halfskins, now come Bricks. Bricks don’t have a single clay cell; that is, they are entirely composed of biomites, the synthetic stem cells people initially used to tweak their defects.
The Government has declared that all Bricks be gathered in The Settlement, where they are sentenced to spend the rest of their lives.
That is where Paul and Raine are. Will they ever escape? Who is the “powers-that-be”? Why is he sentencing Bricks to isolation and blaming them for dream disease? Can Marcus Anderson, their enemy who caused so much pain in the previous books, answer these questions and actually be their salvation?
Tony Bertauski never ceases to amaze me. Just when I thought things could not get worse in the world he created, they do. And again, he raises important questions, where you just cannot pinpoint one view as the bad one.
At what point does one stop being human? In the previous books of the series, it had been decided that the mark was hit when you had 50% biomites. If half or more of you was not clay anymore, then you were terminated.
Now Bertauski takes things to a whole new level, with bricks. Bricks are fabricated humans. They look like humans, behave like humans and apparently think and feel like humans but they are, nonetheless, fabricated. Amongst bricks, there are clones, who are copies of someone and don’t have their memories; then there are transplanted humans, or plants, who have their memories transferred to the new fabricated body.
The world has evolved quite a lot from the previous book. People succumb to dream disease and Bricks are blamed for it. I have to admit I never quite got why, how exactly that flew with public opinion, but I guess it’s the fear of the unknown and, as a character said, people needed a scapegoat. One thing that did puzzle me was that we kept being told that Bricks had been stripped of their rights and yet they seem to have some, like to hold patents. Where the line was drawn was not clear to me.
And then there’s the thing about killing people who had biomites when they entered a biomite-free state. Why not just escort them outside? Why is it ok to kill them? It upset me and that is good, that the story stirred my emotions, and the fact is that is just how Bertauski’s world works; the government can do pretty much anything to the citizens.
I did want to get more of an idea of public opinion regarding those matters but at the end of the day those things did not hinder my enjoyment much.
I was engaged in the story for the large majority of the book. There were some bits and pieces that confused me and I finished the book still feeling a bit confused because at some point it got quite trippy. It made me question so many things, not the least of it what reality is.
Some things got a bit repetitive, particularly towards the end. One thing I felt I kept reading was when Paul found out what he could do. It got to the point where he was doing it and wondering if he had really done it before. And it wasn’t even just that it was repetitive, but that I could never watch him develop this ability so it felt a bit rushed.
If there is one thing I would have like to seen better wrapped up it is the events in the first two books; more specifically, how Cali and Nix played into the big scheme of things.
I am not sure I was 100% sold on the ending either but it was appropriate enough. I just hate it when I am told a character dies (or his consciousness is wiped from existence or whatever the way you want to say it) and then they’re back. Especially when you consider the implications if the same is true for the villain. And I wondered why Cali’s daughter wasn’t with her, after everything that happened in the first book.
The fact is the entire Halfskin series is an amazing dystopia and the stories are guaranteed to take you away. As in the previous books, there were lots of surprises in this one, plenty of twists and turns that I did not see coming and I feel so fortunate to have had the pleasure of reading these books. I highly recommend them and am confident that the entire series has what it takes to become the next big thing. And I am looking forward to reading other books by the author. Don’t let this one slip from your radar, get the entire series now!
Disclaimer: I would like to thank the author for providing me a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.
Listened to from Sep 15 to Sep 20, 2015