Veracity by Laura Bynum

Review Copy provided by Pocket Books.

Author’s Website

PJV’s Quickie POV:  It has been awhile since I have partaken in adult science fiction and boy has it been too long. There is nothing like a bit of thought provoking, dystopian to get the brain working and the political addiction kicking. Wow – Veracity was everything a good political sci-fi thriller should be, well thought out, beautifully written, great characters, evil politicians…while I would never want to escape to the world of Veracity, reading of what could be made me think about how close we might be.

Review: The world of Harper Adams is set in the near future, stemming from events that occur starting around 2008, with the meat of the story happening in the year 2045. Harper lives in a world where a terrible pandemic has struck the US and thrown the world into tumult. Because of the pandemic government has taken over, ruling over the population with an iron fist that controls everything, including the words that can be spoken.

Harper’s world is a dark existence, filled with police that hand out rape and torture like present day law officers hand out paper citations.  Every day citizens are hauled off and executed because the dared speak words such as riot, rebellion, offline and forgiveness. People such as Harper that possess extrasensory abilities are given upper-level positions where they use their abilities to “sniff” out terrorist and other rebellious citizens who are opposed to the Confederation’s government. But as Harper has always possessed her abilities to read auras and sense what people might be hiding within themselves, she knows that what the Confederation is feeding the people is mostly lies and misdirections.  She knows deep down inside that something is very wrong with her government, yet she just doesn’t know exactly how wrong it might be.  That is until her best friend is executed and her godchild is used as a pawn to subdue the population.  Harper knows in her heart that she can’t just let things go on as they have been, she has to try, no matter how daunting that task seems.

Ms. Bynum is an excellent story teller.  The world she created is so real it is terrifying.  As I dove deeper into this novel I could imagine this occurring and it almost seem inevitable.  The events of the novel were all expounded upon and reasoning was given to back up these events, which usually led to me hyperventilating thinking of myself in this position in the near future.  My goodness, Harper could be my own daughter one day! A terrible thought, but the path we are taking as a country sometimes seems like we are destined to a bleak future.  Yet, underneath the darkness, the novel told the story of courage and unwillingness of certain people to submit to oppression.  That in this world we live in mass lies may be believed by most, but there will always be those people that see through the BS to the truth.

It is always refreshing to read a good “make-me-think” novel, especially one that speaks to me from a direction that is close to my heart.  For the last couple of years I have really been disheartened by misrepresentation from media outlet, politicians and the like.  Some of these misrepresentations have gone so far as to be outright lies that the masses suck down like candy, believing these lies and regurgitating them over and over again as if they are gospel.  I’ve gotten into arguments with people citing information that they saw on the History Channel and Saturday Night Live as fact.  What are we becoming as a society? This book addresses what we could become and it is very scary.  My thanks go out to Ms. Bynum for making me think more, and hopefully for inciting a bit of thought in more people. 

Now, to not show complete bias with this novel, I must go into a few of the problems.  One of the problems I found with the book is the sheer amount of information and background, sometimes it becomes a little bit too much.  Added to that fact, there is a lot of time line shifts, where you shift from past to present that tends to get confusing.  There are a few major occurrences that are covered within Harper’s lifetime and there is no discernible pattern (until the end) of how these events are covered.  We shift from present day Harper to teenage Harper, to just a few months in the past, etc.  In the end it all comes together, but at times, especially the few months in the past, can be confusing. To give an example at the very end there is even a flashback that confused me (when Harper calls her daughter), I wasn’t sure if were in the present or past, even though it was kind of obvious it was a flashback. Other than that, the novel was a wonderful read and I was sorry to see it end.

Recommendations: I’m recommending this to sci-fans and readers who like a bit of political intrigue.  Similar books, 1984, Fahrenheit 451, The Handmaiden’s Tale. For the teens, there is cursing but nothing overly scandalous.  The content is rather mature, with mentions of rape, torture, prostitution and other adult material, that is more suitable for older teens and adults. Parents please read this book before passing it on to your teens, not to censor, but to to discuss the topics that are in this book with your child.  I believe topics discussed in this novel are very important, and the in-your-face look at the future world might be a wake-up call to some.

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