Thursday, November 16, 2017

All Rights Reserved ~ Gregory Scott Katsoulis review [@HarlequinTeen ]

All Rights Reserved (Word$ #1)
Harlequin Teen
August 29, 2017
400 pages
add to Goodreads/buy from Book Depository/or Amazon

In a world where every word and gesture is copyrighted, patented or trademarked, one girl elects to remain silent rather than pay to speak, and her defiant and unexpected silence threatens to unravel the very fabric of society.

Speth Jime is anxious to deliver her Last Day speech and celebrate her transition into adulthood. The moment she turns fifteen, Speth must pay for every word she speaks ("Sorry" is a flat ten dollars and a legal admission of guilt), for every nod ($0.99/sec), for every scream ($0.99/sec) and even every gesture of affection. She's been raised to know the consequences of falling into debt, and can't begin to imagine the pain of having her eyes shocked for speaking words that she's unable to afford.

But when Speth's friend Beecher commits suicide rather than work off his family's crippling debt, she can't express her shock and dismay without breaking her Last Day contract and sending her family into Collection. Backed into a corner, Speth finds a loophole: rather than read her speech - rather than say anything at all - she closes her mouth and vows never to speak again. Speth's unexpected defiance of tradition sparks a media frenzy, inspiring others to follow in her footsteps, and threatens to destroy her, her family and the entire city around them.

All Rights Reserved is a book that will make you think, if not about what you say, then about your ability to say it. Or the different movements and gestures you make throughout the say.

In Speth Jime's world it is absolutely astounding how many things, how many little aspects of daily life have been monetized. Nearly everything - every word or gesture is trademarked, ads are everywhere and everything from buzzing someone's apartment to medical procedures requires agreeing to Terms of Service.- is a transaction. It's not a fair economy either.

People like Speth and her family have to pay for every word they say, trying to live a life while avoiding Collection.

Ordinarily, I want background on dystopian worlds, to know how things devolved from what we know now - or can foresee - and what the characters are experiencing. It was one hundred percent for the better, though, that we don't get that in All Rights Reserved. The story is told by Speth, which is necessary given that she doesn't speak, and to her the world is what it is. Those in Speth's world don't have a US history class that teaches them about freedom of speech, so they can't wonder, let alone know how things got so bad.

Having the characters not aware of how different their world is from ours, really allows readers to experience their world and lives. We don't get that objective view point saying, "Well this is wrong," or, "Here's how this came to be," Instead you get things from Speth's view point. And it's that much more rewarding and exciting as her knowledge and view evolve and grow.

I am really eager to see what the sequel Access Restricted holds for Speth and the others and if we get more of that background information.

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