Sunday, March 11, 2018

Book Review ~ Suicide Club by Rachel Heng

Suicide Club
by Rachel Heng

In this debut set in near future NYC—where lives last 300 years and the pursuit of immortality is all-consuming—Lea must choose between her estranged father and her chance to live forever.

Lea Kirino is a “Lifer,” which means that a roll of the genetic dice has given her the potential to live forever—if she does everything right. And Lea is an overachiever. She’s a successful trader on the New York exchange—where instead of stocks, human organs are now bought and sold—she has a beautiful apartment, and a fiancé who rivals her in genetic perfection. And with the right balance of HealthTech™, rigorous juicing, and low-impact exercise, she might never die.

But Lea’s perfect life is turned upside down when she spots her estranged father on a crowded sidewalk. His return marks the beginning of her downfall as she is drawn into his mysterious world of the Suicide Club, a network of powerful individuals and rebels who reject society’s pursuit of immortality, and instead chose to live—and die—on their own terms. In this future world, death is not only taboo; it’s also highly illegal. Soon Lea is forced to choose between a sanitized immortal existence and a short, bittersweet time with a man she has never really known, but who is the only family she has left in the world.

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The first thing that really intrigued me about this book is the cover.  It truly is a beautiful cover and beckoned me to start reading immediately as soon as I received my copy.  The premise of the book also lured me in and seemed to promise an epic reading adventure, escaping into a future that although seems highly unlikely now, could possibly come true.

For the most part, I enjoyed this story, but it just did not pack the punch I was expecting.  I suppose I was hoping for more action, more romance…just more.  What I got was a decent reading experience that did make me think, what if.  One of the major issues I had was the abrupt change from past and current scenes.  I would be reading along and then suddenly, the scene would be from a past memory of the character.  I think what would have helped would be a change in font, or something letting me know that it was a past event.  This alone prevented a smooth reading pace.  My reading copy was an Advance Readers’ Edition, so hopefully this will be corrected before publishing.

I believe this book would make an awesome movie and I definitely will be on the look out for any future books written by this creative author.

2 ¾ stars 

Rachel Heng is a Singaporean novelist and short story writer. Her debut novel, Suicide Club, will be published by Sceptre, Hachette (UK) and Henry Holt, Macmillan (US) in July 2018. Translation rights have also been sold in Sweden, Portugal, Italy, Czech Republic, Taiwan and China thus far. Suicide Club is available for pre-order in hardcover, e-book and audiobook on Amazon.

Rachel's short stories have appeared in The Offing, Prairie Schooner, The Adroit Journal, the Minnesota review and elsewhere. Her fiction has received a Pushcart Prize Special Mention, Prairie Schooner's Jane Geske Award, and has been recommended by the Huffington Post. Rachel's non-fiction has been published in AfterGLOBE and Columbia Journal of Literary Criticism.

Rachel was born and raised in Singapore. After graduating from Columbia University with a BA in Comparative Literature & Society, she spent several years working in private equity in London. She currently lives in Austin, where she is pursuing her MFA in Fiction and Screenwriting at UT Austin's Michener Center for Writers with the generous support of the James A. Michener Fellowship.

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