Book review: Advance (Advance Industries) (Book 1), by K A Duggsy

Advance (Advanced Industries book 1) by K A Duggsy

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Advance is pitched as a ‘dystopian romance’ novel, which is an interesting mashup of genres. I have to admit that while I’m fairly familiar with dark futures, romance is a genre I don’t usually dip into, outside the occasional Meg Ryan or Sandra Bullock comedy. So, did it work? Read on to find out!
After a brief prologue, Advance’s story opens with Faith, a journalist who’s been invited to the grand unveiling of the latest invention of Advanced Industries – a matter transporter to help people get around the city. The city itself consists of several zones of luxury buildings for the rich while the poor are left to fend for themselves at the edges. Outside the gates, however, is ‘off the grid’ where no one wants to be.
Faith, who feels her life is strangely incomplete, is soon contacted by a homeless man who has critical information about the Advance system and the disappearance of many displaced people. After some brief adventures investigating this new technology, Faith finds herself kidnapped by a group who’s leader swears not only does he know Faith but they are deeply in love…
That’s enough on the plot as a lot of the enjoyment hinges on how it all fits together. Read the book if you want to know the rest!
Advance is told in the first person, and although this approach generally gives stories a good sense of immediacy, it can have the problem of limiting the narrative scope (I thought the end of the Hunger Games trilogy suffered from this). Advance gets around this by giving us three characters to live in and on the whole it works very well. Each section has the name of the character as a heading and I never once felt lost on who’s head I was in.
The three POV characters are Faith (the main character), Kye (the hunky love interest) and Fraser (a scientist who works at Advanced Industries).
Kye is a strong, good looking confident guy who inspires fierce loyalty in his compatriots. He’ll pursue love and what he wants to the end of the Earth, and nothing will get in his way. Just the sort of alpha male that most guys like me hate! 🙂 He is, however, also very possessive and violently jealous which makes him much more interesting than a typical hero type. I did wonder at a few points why Faith, who is also very strong-willed, would stay with a man who considers her his property (he frequently refers to her as ‘belonging to him’), but hey  that’s love for you and what do I know!? It would be interesting to see that dynamic explored in future instalments. Regardless of that, their relationship is well thought out and progresses in compelling and unexpected ways as the story unfolds.
Faith herself is also well written, taking us on a journey of her experiences and emotions but I can’t really discuss her without talking too much about the plot. The writing makes a good and relatable hero, and I always understood her motivations.
For me, the most interesting character is Fraser. You are never sure what side he is on, and when his true motives are revealed they seem perfectly obvious looking back. He reminded me a bit of Hannibal Lecter or the Phantom of the Opera, not because he eats people or gives them singing lessons (he doesn’t), but because even though he does some very questionable things I still found myself rooting for him in several places.
The world-building, outside what is needed for the plot, is fairly minimal (for example where do the people get food from, and how does the economy work?) but it does enough to describe the world of Advanced in enough detail that it feels like a living city. That’s just a minor observation that almost no one else will care about, though. What you need to know is in there. There are influences of other dystopian worlds, and one bit reminded me of a scene in the original Arnie version of Total Recall. None of those are negative points, however!
My only point of criticism  is that Faith does go a bit ‘Kim Bauer’ in the number of times she get manages to get kidnapped or captured by various people.
Advance is the first part of a series (like all the novels I seem to be reading at the moment!) and I’m looking forward to the next one. My only concern is (without trying to spoil things), is that one of the potential problems involving the central plot mechanic is that it’s very easy to get caught up in paradoxes and impossible plot holes. I therefore hope that the author has planned future novels carefully so everything still makes sense at the end.
In all, I thoroughly enjoyed Advance and would highly recommend it, even for the cynical non-romance folks among us.

 

Rating: 5 / 5

Disclaimer and disclosure. This book was bought by me from Amazon.co.uk through BooksGoSocial.com. All opinions are my own, and I am receiving no payment for the review, either by financial or review-swap means.

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