Sunday, 1 January 2012

Book Review: World Mart by Leigh M. Lane

Some time in the not too distant future the corporate world and government have become one and the same, antibiotic resistant diseases have wiped out many and global warming has wreaked havoc on the world we know. Society has been divided into the Corp elite and Mart underclass, ruled by the secretive Corporate. The lowest of the low are deviants, widely held to be inferior criminal types. 

George and Virginia, who have some memories of life as it is now, are fortunate to be part of the Corp, and in a way their American dream is still alive in so far as they hope that by spending most of their income on their children's education they might be able to obtain middle management jobs and improve their lot in life. However that dream is shattered when Virginia is hospitalised as a result of a terrorist attack. As a result they both have their eyes opened to a few things Corporate would rather the masses didn't know.

World Mart paints a bleak but all too plausible picture of a future where the climate is even more out of kilter than it is at present, where the failure of the present to deal with landfill and pollution has resulted in all sorts of problems and rationing, and where monopolistic corporations have gained a stranglehold on the world. As the book unfolded seeing George, and Virginia in particular, realise that they are being manipulated and controlled by the elite ruling class was a ray of hope. By contrast teen daughter Shelley, reeling from tragedy, despite seeing herself as rebelling chooses to believe the party line. I found the parents' actions  and feelings understandable, but found their daughter a bit inconsistent. She vacillated between wanting to make a stand and be a rebel, and being terrified by the outcome of her actions, but it seemed a sudden about face and she came over as more than just a confused teenager, I wanted to give her a slap at times.

There are incidents of violence and murder but the delivery of these events is matter of fact and the way the story moves quickly on makes it seem unexceptional, which I found a bit disturbing. Perhaps this is what the author intended in this dystopian future, but I'm not entirely convinced. 

I found the backdrop a scary possibility and liked the plot but found some of the elements didn't sit quite right for me. I also felt that the carefully constructed hierarchys that were set up in the first part of the book became almost redundant later on as it became much more of a personal tale, with the issues between the Corporate and the terrorists pushed to one side.

It was a reasonably good read but the characters weren't quite compelling enough to draw me back to it in the way some books do.

Format: Kindle, review copy
My Rating: 3*

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