Author: Louise Carey
Publication Date: 21 Jan 2021
Comment: I was given a free copy of this book by @willomullane at Orion Books and the author. I was happy to do it for the InTech Corporation, they know what’s best.
Inscape is the dystopian future we would do best to avoid.
Warning: use of this gate will take you outside of the InTech corporate zone. Different community guidelines may apply, and you may be asked to sign a separate end-user license agreement. Do you wish to continue?
Tanta has trained all her young life for this. Her very first mission is a code red: to take her team into the unaffiliated zone just outside InTech’s borders and retrieve a stolen hard drive. It should have been quick and simple, but a surprise attack kills two of her colleagues and Tanta barely makes it home alive.
Determined to prove herself and partnered with a colleague whose past is a mystery even to himself, Tanta’s investigation uncovers a sinister conspiracy that makes her question her own loyalties and the motives of everyone she used to trust.
As an orphan Tanta was taken in by the Corp and has dedicated her young life to be worthy of this great honour. Trained to be one of the best InterCorp Relations Agents, Tanta is thrilled when she gets her first assignment outside the confines of her city. It should be simple, just retrieve some stolen files. But things go drastically wrong.
Despite the mission being a failure, Tanta is promoted and tasked with retrieving the stolen files in whatever way possible.
With a colleague whose unfortunate accident means he can barely remember his past, Tanta goes all out to solve her first case and be worthy of the trust InTech has put in her.
But as the pieces of the puzzle start to come together, Tanta is shocked to find her beloved corporation is not everything she thought it was and there are those who will stop at nothing to make sure she doesn’t uncover the truth… about herself.
Inscape is a cyberpunk novel done right.
In a future where major Corporations control humanity, those who don’t agree to the bio-tech augmentation and constant monitoring are cast outside, forced to fend for themselves.
Rising up the ranks of the Corporation is only possible with extreme loyalty to the Corp and your life is measured with how valuable you are to them. Those with higher worth points are given more leeway and advantages.
It’s not really hard to see this sort of thing happening. When a few major corporations currently hold most of the world’s worth in their hands, it seems plausible that there will come a time when you are owned by that company.
For us, I’m thinking Apple, Microsoft and Google. You will have to join one of them and sign away rights to your life. (See small print for terms and conditions)
Well I, for one, welcome our Tech overlords and it has nothing to do with the chip in my head.
The little nods back to the ‘quaint’ tech of this century and how bizarre they found it made me smile. It felt a bit like when I gave my friend’s kid a cassette tape and he asked where you plugged it in. Yeah, that didn’t make me feel old at all.
I will admit, however, that it took a few chapters to get into the rhythm of the book. The first chapter is very jargon-heavy and doesn’t explain what the various technologies are. Tanta and the other ICRD agents drop in words that make no sense until you manage to work out which bit of tech does what.
In one way this is great because it doesn’t have huge chunks of exposition or explanation and instead lets you discover what they can do for yourself. On the other hand, I was a bit confused at the start with the terminology.
However, once you realise what Arrays, ‘scapes and the rest of the tech are it’s smooth sailing.
The plot is beautifully paced with edge-of-the-seat action, character development and revelations that keep you turning pages until the very end.
And then onwards because this is the first in a series. Or it better be. I have some questions that need answering!
The characters are likable, even though you are aware that something is not quite right, and you are cheering Tanta on to discover the truth.
The worldbuilding is particularly well done. Especially the scientific explanations, use of unique technology and inter-corporation rivalry.
All in all, a great read. I will be looking forward to the next in the series.