Friday, 6 July 2012

1.4 Review

- Mike Lancaster

Publisher: Egmont

**Warning – will contain spoilers to 0.4, the first book**
In the far future, people no longer know what to believe...Did Kyle Straker ever exist? Or were his prophecies of human upgrades nothing more than a hoax?
Peter Vincent is nearly 16, and has never thought about the things that Strakerites believe. His father — David Vincent, creator of the artificial bees that saved the world's crops — made sure of that. When the Strakerites pronounce that another upgrade is imminent, Peter starts to uncover a conspiracy amongst the leaders of the establishment, a conspiracy that puts him into direct conflict with his father.

Last year I read 0.4 and was completely blown away by how many ideas were packed into a relatively short book (Read my review here). So when 1.4 was released recently I knew I wanted to read it pretty soon. This is set many years later when the human race is a very different format to what is normal now. People can access the ‘Link’ with their minds at will. The Link is essentially a multi-purpose internet with music player, photo taker, memory storage and game player – pretty much anything you want. Peter Vincent is a typical teenage boy – albeit one with a famous scientist father and a fairly privileged upbringing. When he meets Alpha, a Strakerite, who believes the Kyle Straker tapes – that the human race is upgraded by unseen aliens on a regular basis and sees some unusual activities on the Link, suddenly Kyle Straker’s claims are not so ridiculous...

While this does feature entirely different characters, this isn’t a repeat of 0.4 – there is more of an exploration of humanity and what it means to be human. It also explores the influence of all-powerful aliens interfering with human evolution. And all in three hundred pages. The writing is simple but powerful. Mike Lancaster seems to have captured the feelings of a teenage boy trying to live up to his father’s legacy perfectly. I really felt for him and Alpha throughout.

Alpha is a fun character but I confess I didn’t completely understand why she fell for Peter so quickly. I did enjoy the different yet familiar world of the future where they lived. While the beginning is a little slow, that time is spent building a world different from our own. It was a place where you could recognise many of the current trends taken to the extreme. When the action really starts to take off, it’s fast paced and Peter uses his brains to solve problems – which is a nice change from an action man.

A thinking science-fiction story that’s not afraid to ask some big questions – or leave you thinking.  Enjoy! J

Recommended for fans of Charlie Higson and Suzanne Collins. 8 out of 10


  1. Oh this also looks like a book I couldn't just dive into, but start from the beginning. I like those stories that keep you thinking. I'll have to check these out!

  2. Freaky! Not to know if you exist or not 0_0 But that does manage to make me really curious about this one