Rachel Pattinson 

Anais is a young woman living in the Imperial City on the cusp of her ‘Career Advice’ which will set the job she will do for the remainder of her life. Unfortunately she isn’t as brilliant as her friend Dalla and is assigned to work in the picochip factory instead of as an architect as she’d dreamed. Still, she accompanies Dalla to the Citivas building so her friend can see where she will be working. It doesn’t hurt that her boyfriend is a intern with security there. They get a quick tour and almost get into trouble. Anais decides to walk home as she decides how to tell her parents about her failure, and to dream a little about using pirated Scholarly Learning Programs to improve her fate.

She witnesses a murder, the second in just a few days, but the killer doesn’t attack her, falling over dead instead. She still comes to the notice of the police, especially Officer Nox who wants to pin the murder on her in spite of the evidence, fortunately Officer Hughes supports Anais and she is released. Events conspire to keep bringing her to Nox’s attention until he becomes obsessed with her. What is worse is that someone is targeting the city and somehow Anais is the person who must stop it.

I like the utopian/dystopian society of easy genetic modification and ID chips that allow for instant learning. Anais is believable as a young woman caught up by events. There are a few plot issues, such as old technology being the undetectable portal into new technology.  Anyone whose tried to work with old Windows software will roll their eyes at that. Officer Nox’s obsession isn’t well motivated,  and some other actions by main character are hard to believe. None of this takes away from an interesting and fun read.

I recommend Synthetica to readers who enjoy YA sci-fi or ones who would like a different slant on dystopian fiction.

You can buy the book here.

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