I was skeptical picking up this book. You’re right to be whenever someone not typically in the writing industry is. For the record, AViVA is one of my favourite songwriters. I didn’t leap at her book to buy it when it came out, but after seeing reviews come out praising it I listened to the audiobook teaser then decided to buy a copy for myself.
Now I’m betting that the five star reviews for this novel came from the AViVA fandom just to support her.
The city of Metropolis is forever haunted by their slogan “We watch because we care.” If you don’t behave accordingly even in the slightest, you will be reported and sanitised. Teddy’s been able to hide her differences for all her life, and as she learns darker secrets about the way Metropolis is run she soon learns about an entirely new city beneath her feet, one that stands for all her government does not. And when it comes at risk, she is the one forced to solve problems that could kill millions of people.
This had a very strong and engaging first act. The world of Metropolis was introduced splendidly, with high steaks surrounding the concept of surveillance. I thought this was a great direction for the novel to be going and a great theme to explore, because the theme of surveillance itself literally makes your hairs stand on end. You could see it building in the world and affecting the psyche of many characters, in both the main world and the culture of the rebellion. And by the midpoint where everything when downhill, I was certain I would be keeping this book and really enjoying it.
Then we go into the second and third acts. This novel reeked of sagging middle syndrome and it went downhill from there. You know your narrative structure is wrong when there was more tension at the start of the novel than the end. It ended up being more pleasant exploration and introduction. And then when the tension builds up again it is literally in the final chapter and ending on a cliffhanger. Now I have more questions than answers. I’m not even sure if any of my questions got answered.
Few of these characters were written or introduced well. It makes sense why this novel was called self/lees – these characters had zero personality. For reference, the leading male’s main and only personality trait and purpose was to be horny for the main character. He was so hollow that it felt like Teddy was kissing a sex doll! And then the characters that did have personality didn’t have consistent personalities.
After reading that novel, I think I’ll just stick to listening to her songs.
self/less gets a score of 2.5/5. I don’t think I’ve ever read a book with a more accurate name.
Yours in writing