Friday, March 4, 2011

Human.4 ~ Mike Lancaster ARC review

March 8, 2011
240 pages

Kyle Straker's small British town has a talent show every year. It's not really a big deal: it's an interesting way to spend the day and the winner might get their picture in the paper.

But when his friend Daniel decides hypnotism is the talent he's going to showcase this year, somehow Kyle gets stuck being one of his 'volunteers'. Kyle can only imagine what will happen while he's one of the four on stage being hypnotized in front of the town (that is if Daniel can even do it) . . .

Only, he definitely never imagined this.

Kyle and the other three awaken to find everyone else acting strangely--like something is wrong with the four of them. Add to that radios, TVs and computers no longer work except to display an odd new language--or what looks like one.

Is this all a part of the hypnosis? Is Kyle going to wake up from a snap of Daniel's fingers to see the crowd in hysterics and find out this was all a joke? Or has everything somehow changed in those moments he under hypnosis?

HUMAN.4 is the best of THE TWILIGHT ZONE (the 60s version, not the newer one) meets DOCTOR WHO (also the newer series/seasons).

It's told, at some unknown point in the future, through a transcription of Kyle's found audio tapes. The editor from that future point (ie the author) also breaks in with explanations--almost footnotes but in little boxes within the text--explaining something or another Kyle has mentioned. Even though readers never really see experience this future, the explanations of (current) everyday places, customs, and phrases gives us a perfect glimpse into it.

While HUMAN.4 is driven a lot by the what's-going-on-ness, it's told by one of the main characters so we also learn about the other characters through him which helps readers relate to them. I very much liked that it gave us enough to care about them and/or understand where they were coming from but not so much that it made the story drag.

What you really need to know about Mike Lancaster's first YA novel, though, is this: it's creepy and one you can't put down.

Yes, the characters are good, yes I adored the little anecdotes, but what kept me reading way past when I should have been asleep was needing to know how it would end! Think of the best B alien movie from the 60s and the way it was outrageous but the characters were really scared, but you also had to see it all. Now make it not cheesy and campy but amazing (while remembering I said it was TWILIGHT ZONE meets DOCTOR WHO).

The idea of being alone is probably what makes this one so troubling. Any dystopian can create a scary world for us all, but Mike Lancaster's shown us what it would be like if maybe (along with a few others), that world was just for us.


Thank you, thank you to Jennifer at Egmont USA/Goodman Media for sending me this for review

*I'm trying something with the capslock titles...sorry.


  1. I haven't heard of this book but it sounds fantastic! Great review :)

  2. I haven't seen it a lot of places (online or out and about) I really enjoyed it! I hope you'll give it a read!

    Thanks for reading and commenting :)

  3. Wow, thanks for the lovely review. So glad you enjoyed it!


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