by William Campbell Powell
Genre: Dystopian, Science Fiction, YA
Excerpt: Yes | Book Trailer: No
Reviewed by: Kate | Source: NetGalley
What happens when you turn eighteen and there are no more tomorrows?
It is the year 2049, and humanity is on the brink of extinction….
Tania Deeley has always been told that she’s a rarity: a human child in a world where most children are sophisticated androids manufactured by Oxted Corporation. When a decline in global fertility ensued, it was the creation of these near-perfect human copies called teknoids that helped to prevent the utter collapse of society.
Though she has always been aware of the existence of teknoids, it is not until her first day at The Lady Maud High School for Girls that Tania realizes that her best friend, Siân, may be one. Returning home from the summer holiday, she is shocked by how much Siân has changed. Is it possible that these changes were engineered by Oxted? And if Siân could be a teknoid, how many others in Tania’s life are not real?
Driven by the need to understand what sets teknoids apart from their human counterparts, Tania begins to seek answers. But time is running out. For everyone knows that on their eighteenth “birthdays,” teknoids must be returned to Oxted—never to be heard from again.
I always enjoy books that make me think about the basic question of what it means to be human. EXPIRATION DAY is definitely one of those books. Set in a not-so-far future, where most humans can’t have children, we get all the classics: can robots be creative? Can they experience emotion? If they’re creative and emotional, are they not as human as homo sapiens? These are all fascinating questions to ponder, and rather than detract from the story, they add to it, giving a somewhat regular “coming of age” story depth and a completely different angle.
Told a diary format, we follow Tania from age 11 to nearly 18. Her entries at times are sporadic, and you’ll find the narration will skip months or even years. But through Tania’s eyes, we see a gangly pre-teen grow up into an almost adult, one who wants to know more about the world around her. I liked the diary format – I’ve always liked that style of narration, and I think it was done well in this case. Tania’s voice didn’t change as much as I would have expected over six or so years, but she sounded unique, and fresh, and like somebody I would be friends with.
One thing I didn’t like was the “Intervals,” told from the first person of an alien far in the future, who discovered Tania’s diary. I felt they were unnecessary and distracting, when there was so much more that could have been explored in Tania’s current day world – for example, how exactly did they get to the point where nearly nobody could have children? Was it only in England that the robotic children were in use? Where did the fertile women go when they were “chosen” to be mothers? The near future unnamed catastrophe setting is always so fascinating, because half the time, it feels so real anyway.
Though not as action-packed as some current YA out there, EXPIRATION DAY still moves along and keeps a reader’s interest without having to have crazy tense moments. The story feels natural and real, while at the same time it is so foreign. Set in a fascinating world, with an excellent narrator, I would recommend EXPIRATION DAY to anybody who enjoys books about robots or humanity’s future, or somebody who wants a break from your typical YA dystopian novel.
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About the author
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