Kirchner debuts with a haunting tale of a devastatingly controlled, unsettling world. One minute, Tommy Pierre Antikagmac, the star quarterback and the most followed player in American football, is training off-season in the unpopulated European Fallowlands, and the next moment he finds himself detached from the Hive. But when Tommy is captured by The Freeman, a fringe group of anti-Hive saboteurs, he learns the world outside the Hive is not what he imagined it to be. Kirchner knows his craft, and it shows: the characters grow as the story develops. Tommy, a wonderful mix of vulnerability, raw emotions, and hidden strength, is a fully fleshed-out protagonist. He’s thoroughly self-aware to see the parallels between his life in the Hive and as a part of the Freeman. While the authoritarian regime of the Hive’s leadership feels like a familiar SF trope, Kirchner’s dystopian world, with its lack of privacy, individuality, and personal space is thoroughly convincing and well-crafted. As the story progresses, the tension mounts, and readers will find themselves turning pages relentlessly. Kirchner also weaves in themes of individuality, identity, oppression, freedom, and memory. Sharp-edged and sophisticated, the novel offers an unparalleled emotional experience. Kirchner is an author to watch.
Categories: Science Fiction