416 pages

English language

Published Feb. 10, 2021

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4 stars (13 reviews)

One young woman faces down an all-powerful corporation in this all-too-near future science fiction debut that reads like a refreshing take on Ready Player One, with a heavy dose of Black Mirror.Ready Player One meets Cyberpunk 2077 in this eerily familiar future. “Twenty minutes to power curfew, and my kill counter’s stalled at eight hundred eighty-seven while I’ve been standing here like an idiot. My health bar is flashing ominously, but I’m down to four heal patches, and I have to be smart.” New Liberty City, 2134. Two corporations have replaced the US, splitting the country’s remaining forty-five states (five have been submerged under the ocean) between them: Stellaxis Innovations and Greenleaf. There are nine supercities within the continental US, and New Liberty City is the only amalgamated city split between the two megacorps, and thus at a perpetual state of civil war as the feeds broadcast the atrocities committed …

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Review of 'Firebreak' on 'Storygraph'

5 stars

FIREBREAK is a heart-pounding story of scarcity and danger in a place controlled by warring corporations. Mal is a young streamer trying to impress her viewers enough to make it through each day and avoid ending up in the company dehydration clinics, when . 

Because major parts of the plot revolve around resource control and water scarcity, there’s a lot of discussion of water-insecurity and shortage. That was stressful to read but also deepened my immersion in the story. The way Mal’s thoughts did or did not revolve around this essential resource at any given moment matters to the story. The book involves an in-universe MMORPG (multiplayer online game that most people are either playing or watching when they’re not working), and at first I thought that the plot would focus on some objective in the game world, but a little ways in it reveals that the main stakes are …

Review of 'Firebreak' on 'Goodreads'

5 stars

Disclaimer: I received an advanced copy of this book through NetGalley

Mal is a streamer for a Virtual Reality video game in a dystopian future United States where two megacorporations have split the US between them and wage war over what's left. She stumbles upon secrets about the SecOps Operatives, genetically engineered heroes that are pop culture celebrities for refugees from the war between the corporations.

I really enjoyed this book, the way it portrays the relationships between Mal and her partner Jessa and between the operatives. There's a real message of "Your real friends and family are the people who've got your back" woven throughout the book. There's a lot of action and a lot of intrigue and the pace is pretty quick.

It reads to me like what Ready Player One could have been if it had done more of an exploration of the corporate-owned dystopia it envisioned. …

Review of 'Firebreak' on 'Storygraph'

5 stars

If you, like me, absolutely adored Archivist Wasp and Latchkey, and were always niggled by the tantalizing fragments of a world almost like our own, where the ghost may have come from and how it all fell apart... here it is, and it’s glorious. What Kornher-Stace has done here, writing a post-apocalypse backwards to its origin, is like nothing I’ve read anywhere else.