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drey's library

reviews, interviews, and giveaways from an eclectic reader...

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In the Courts of the Sun
Brian D'Amato
Gideon Smith and the Mechanical Girl
David Barnett
The Bone Palace
Virus Thirteen - Joshua Alan Parry Virus Thirteen is a medical thriller set in a future world, one where cancer’s been cured – along with other diseases, gene-doping (messing with your genes by adding stuff) is illegal, and the world’s largest genetics firm – GeneFirm, Inc. – is owned and controlled by a clone of its original founder. This is also a world where the government controls healthcare costs by sending the non-healthy to “health rehab,” because people live longer lives, and they don’t want to foot the bill for your irresponsible behavior forever. Literally.It’s in this world that James Logan, a scientist working at GeneFirm, has a seizure and it’s discovered that he has cancer. CANCER. In a supposedly cancer-repelling body. Apparently all things are not as they seem…The world is interesting in its premise – if people lived longer, what’s the impact? Parry throws out the largest ramification: overpopulation, which causes over-taxing of Earth’s resources, among other problems. But it’s just glossed over briefly. The focus of the book is split between James trying to find out why he got cancer, and two health-rehab escapees who eventually make their way to GeneFirm’s compound.The plot is simple (imagine the Brain telling Pinky “We’re going to take over the world!”), which lets you focus on the story, which unfortunately has potholes. The characters are a little stiff, like marionettes at a puppet show. James was the most “real” of them, and even then he had a tumor in his brain and DIDN’T NOTICE the effects on his health? Really? And the crew sent to health rehab were stereotypical, as were the staff. I think Parry would’ve been better served by spending less time at rehab and more on the story getting us from James-had-cancer to thwarting-the-powers-that-wanna-be, and everything in between. A lot of it seemed to jump from one point to the next, without the gradual-revelation sort of thing that thriller-readers love – because it gives them the chance to go “Ah ha!” and wait to find out if they’re right.drey’s rating: Ok!