Sunday 20 May 2018

Book Review: Every Thing About You by Heather Child

Every Thing About You is a debut novel by Heather Child. Touted as a sort of Black Mirror mixed with Gone Girl, this a slightly futuristic thriller that is eerily plausible if technology continues as we know it.

Freya is working a deadbeat job where she fears she will be replaced by sales robots who can mine data about a customer and tailor the service to their needs. This is a future where virtual reality is commonplace and used for escapism or fantasies. Where your digital footprint is used in every aspect of your life, using data to predict your needs like what to order for lunch or what outfit you should wear for a date. Smartspecs are VR glasses that overlay information to what you see, like showing a trail leading you home, or covering graffiti with flowers. Freya has recently acquired a digital assistant that only she can hear, who is designed to make whatever Freya wants happen. The only problem is, her assistant has the voice of her sister Ruby who disappeared 8 years ago. Freya still holds out hope that Ruby is alive somewhere, so when her assistant seems to know more about Ruby than she should, Freya goes on a mission to try and track her down.

This obsession leads Freya into some dark places, including Yearnfield, a virtual landscape where not everyone is as they seem and can become quite addictive. Freya needs to learn whether or not she can trust the information that is being fed to her.

This book was very fascinating, especially in terms of the technology that has been created. The way that Heather Child created a world where this tech was integrated well into everyday life is impressive and seems very plausible. I found that the tech was talked about quite a lot and it almost was too much to remember. I found Freya to be an interesting character, who clearly has some issues and struggles to manage the tech integration. The overall feel of the novel was quite disjointed, there were a lot of aspects to work in and I don't think they resolved as well as they could, or even flowed together well throughout the book. I was intrigued enough to finish the book, it did get pretty dark at times but thankfully not in a sexual way, although this was alluded to at times.

I wasn't overly satisfied with the conclusion, the big questions were answered but so many other little things were left unexplained or things seemed to be thrown in just for the sake of semi-resolving a character's story. Overall though, this novel was an eye-opening view into what could come, and it definitely makes you think twice about the data you create online. Worth a read if this kind of thing intrigues you.

Available now from book retailers.
Thanks to Hachette for a review copy of this book.