Friday, August 3, 2018

ARC Review: Nine by Zach Hines

Author: Zach Hines
Publication: HarperTeen (August 7, 2018)

Description: In this twisted Lauren Oliver-meets-A.S. King debut, Julian has just eight more lives to burn in order to uncover a brutal secret.

In an alternate world startlingly close to our own, humans have nine lives—and they can’t wait to use them up.

The government has death incentives aimed at controlling overpopulation. As you shed lives, you shed your awkward phases: one death is equal to one physical and mental upgrade.

Julian’s friends are obsessed with the idea of burning, but Julian is determined to stay on his first life for as long as he can. His mother burned too fast and inflicted a debilitating rebirth sickness on herself.

Julian realizes that he’s going to have to burn at some point—especially when he becomes a target for Nicholas, the manipulative leader of the Burners, the school’s suicide club. And when Julian eventually succumbs, he uncovers suspicious gaps in the rebirth system that may explain exactly why his mother went so far down the rabbit hole years ago.

Along with a group of student dissenters, Julian sets out to find answers and is soon on the verge of exposing the greatest conspiracy ever unleashed on the world.

My Thoughts: Julian is part of a society where everyone has nine lives. Each time you die, you upgrade in status and perks. However, Julian watched his mother keep upgrading her life count until she became permadead. Each new life cost in terms of senses and mental ability and even in knowing herself and her family. Julian wants no part of it.

Julian's school has a Burners Club where students throw away their lives in spectacular fashion rather than just visiting an extinguishment clinic. Due to family pressure, since his family's life score isn't giving them enough money to pay the mortgage, Julian very reluctantly joins.

But things are not quite as it seems. More and more people are being damaged instead of enhanced as they upgrade their life numbers. Julian finds himself in a group of young people who are tying to find answers to what is going on with the whole rebirth process.

This was an interesting story but I still don't understand the world. The stated goal of the process is to control overpopulation but I can't see how bringing people back to life nine times accomplishes that. If you can get over that concept, the story was exciting. Julian was an interesting character who had a mystery to solve. He got answers but they weren't necessarily the ones he wanted.

Other characters including Cody who is one of the discontented and thrown away kids and Nicholas who is the leader of the Burners and the son of the man in charge of the rebirth lake for their city were also interesting characters who each had their own agendas. 

Fans of science fiction could enjoy this one because of the concept and the adventure.

Favorite Quote:
What a complete and utter waste of time this was. What a waste of life. Of course, Julian understood that stupidity was the entire point of the evening; this was, after all, a Burners party, which by definition meant lives were to be wasted. But no matter how he looked at it, he could not see the humor. How is it even a joke when there is no one left at the end of the night to laugh at it?
I received this one in exchange for an honest review from Edelweiss. You can buy your copy here.

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