Thursday, January 20, 2011

0.4 by Mike Lancaster

3rd January 2011, Egmont (UK - not sure if/when it will be published by Egmont US)
Children's, Paperback
Science Fiction, 11+

Summary from Egmont UK

It’s a brave new world.
'My name is Kyle Straker. And I don't exist anymore'
So begins the story of Kyle Straker, recorded on to old audio tapes. You might think these tapes are a hoax. But perhaps they contain the history of a past world...
If what the tapes say are true, it means that everything we think we know is a lie.
And if everything we know is a lie does that mean that we are, too?

This is one of those books that made me go wow a lot. My spine tingled most of the way through the novel. I have to say that I'm pretty glad I got a proof copy, without the final cover. It freaks me out a little - I do have a fear of anything wiggly. I think I turned a little pale while reading this book - there are a few moments when things are a bit too - um - wiggly for my liking. Those aside, this novel rocks!

Initially I was intrigued by 0.4, but before I started reading I did wonder whether it would be a bit weird or not. It sounded weird with the tapes. Strangely that actually worked out pretty well, and it heightens the element of surprise for the reader. Kyle is a likeable character. He's fairly ordinary, but what happens to him is extremely extraordinary. The story starts off with a snippet of what his life is normally like, as a background for all the strangeness that is to follow. The story is laid out by having sections where Kyle tells it into a cassette tape (which came before the mp3 player, before the cd player, before the mini-disk player - waaaay back in music history (not that long ago because I had one when I was little)). Just by nature of the very first cassette tapes, a few chunks of Kyle's words are cut out from the story, which made me go 'grrr' at the book and hope that I caught up in the next chapter (I did).

It isn't that Kyle disappears from the world. He and a few others disappear from peoples' existence. That is because they aren't people, but they are something else, something that can be altered or wiped out. The way the event happens is pretty clever. I really thought that it was a joke - until the joke never ended. There is a good deal of suspense and danger as Kyle and his friends go on the run from their own families and fellow neighbours. There are several moments where it seems like they will get caught. The truth behind what 0.4 really got my mind thinking. The fugitive element of the plot worked well, as did the way that Kyle used his friends' skills to survive. Through the event and the consequences, Kyle learns a lot about himself, and also about how his new friends behave. The future isn't necessarily an optimistic one for Kyle, but he has the right attitude to face what's coming. I'm very eager to read the next book, 1.0.

(Content-wise there isn't anything of note, other than a few horror elements).

This is on a similar vein to Michael Grant's trilogy Gone, Hunger, Lies (Blogger won't let me put links to my reviews for these just yet, I'll try and add them another day). 


Aleksandra said...

Great review! Now I'm looking forward to reading it even more :)

D.L. said...

Thanks for the review! I never would have picked this up on my own (the cover creeps me out!) but now I'm intruigued.