What would you do if you lived in a world where your every move was scrutinized by your own personal artificial intelligence - a world where everything is regulated, from power usage to relationships - a world where everything you thought you knew turned out to be a lie?
Welcome to Tisaia - the last hub of modern civilization in a world left scorched by the nuclear fires of the Biomass Wars. Surrounded by a fortress of steel walls and protected by a fierce and loyal Council of Royal Knights, Tisaia seems relatively safe to the average State worker and citizen. A plentiful supply of Biomass powers the cities and food is abundant, but security has come at a terrible cost. The State will do anything to protect its resources, even if it means suppressing the rights of its citizens and deporting immigrants into the Wasteland - a virtual death sentence.
Spurious Timur is one of the State workers helping keep the wheels of prosperity turning in Tisaia. As he starts to explore Tisaia and question his own worth, he realizes there may be more to his subsistence than he thought. When he meets and falls for co-worker Lana Padilla, he begins to understand he may hold the key to restoring Tisaia to a just and free State.
However, restoring Tisaia will come at a cost; both to Spurious and those he cares about, because in Tisaia nothing is ever what it seems. And as more of his past begins to surface, he is faced with the ultimate decision--on which side of the revolution should he fight?
©2013 Nicholas Sansbury Smith (P)2014 Audible Inc.
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The Biomass Revolution is set in the post-apocalyptic near future in the city of Tisaia. The story follows many characters as they navigate the challenges of this isolationist and oppressive state. Through the eyes of government officials, citizens, and revolutionaries, the reader gets a perspective of the conflict surrounding human rights and control of fuel.
There are many different directions that this book could have taken and the focus on the fuel source and the human rights questions are compelling issues that would arise in a post-apocalyptic world. Structurally, the novel is built up of chapter for a lot of different points of view. Some of them we only see once while a few of the others are recurring. I generally love novels with multiple points of view, and like many such novels, in The Biomass Revolution, listening to the story is like getting a bird's eye view of whats happening. The perspectives range from government officials, soldiers, government workers, minorities, revolutionaries and more. It's a very high up view of how all the pieces are moving toward a conclusion. And the best part is that the points of view converge at the end without leaving any hanging story lines. While bordering on cheesy, the end and the epilogue were especially satisfying. Overall, I thought the world building was adequate. The different settings were clearly defined. The only thing that I wish had more depth in this regard is the biomass. There was no detail into what exactly was the biomass, other than a fuel source, which seemed a bit vague.
This leads me to the biggest flaw of the novel. There was little depth, detail, and really character, in most of characters. The characters' motivations were written simply without much depth, which made the actions of characters difficult to believe. For example, the romantic plot-line was especially frustrating to me. The relationship just became serious without any defined reason for it being so. And it was a driving factor for a lot of the actions the main character took, but I just didn't believe that those actions made any logical sense. Perhaps, if fewer points of view had been used it would've possible to provide a bird's eye view of the plots moving pieces, without sacrificing subtle character development. As it is, the characters' different points of view just seemed to be there to move the plot forward. Overall, I found the writing to be simple and without much nuance.
As a result of my dislike for the simplicity of the writing for the book, it was difficult to tease out my thoughts on the narration. I often stopped paying attention and so I had to constantly shift backwards, but I'm not sure if that was the author's fault or the narrator's. The main criticism that most of the characters tones and voices did not vary, which made it difficult to remember who was speaking, which was critical in a book with so many different points of view.
I've been thinking about how to review this book from when I started reading it. Something about it just didn't mesh with me. Overall, the premise had a lot of potential and the plot was delivered in a logical bare bones way, but the character development leaves a lot to be desired.
Audiobook provided for review by the author.
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