Making decisions would be so much easier if you could jump a few years into the future to find how things will turn out. For instance, you would know that it was worth the bruises to defend your autistic friend from bullies. You would know that your employer wasn’t mad that you kind of went behind his back to volunteer for the cancer-curing implants. You would know to ignore that paranoid, little kid that worried the implants would provide the government with a means for taking over the world.
Well, strike that last one.
Unfortunately for Gordon Harding, when he is transported into the future he doesn’t have time to ask questions about his past. Instead, he’s landed in the middle of a war between the government (which happens to control every human being on earth) and a few lousy rebels. A war which Gordon might have started by being the first person to receive an implant, except that hasn’t happened yet for him… because time travel. Anyway, that’s all history; it’s the present he has to worry about. And, since he’s the only person in the future without a government-issued implant, Gordon is the only one who can save the world.
Maybe not knowing the future is the better option.
Let’s get this out of the way first: this is a young-adult dystopian novel. Nothing against it, it simply should be addressed. As such, this book has the tropes of a young-adult, dystopian novel: young adult protagonist who is the only one who can save the world, dystopian future, etc. (though it is neither in first person nor present tense). How does it measure up to others in the genre? Surprisingly well. The characters are strong and interesting, which is nice since the entire book takes place inside of Gordon’s head (it’d be terrible if he was annoying, wouldn’t it?). The plot is pretty good as well, though it does meander a bit in the middle. It even had a few nice twists; including one involving the identity of a secondary character which, though predictable, I quite enjoyed. The prose is a little shaky at the beginning, but it develops strength as time goes on and I became enticed for the latter half of the book. I simply had to know what happened next. Overall, Implant doesn’t make any big mistakes. It just doesn’t quite reach the heights I wished it would.
This book really falls flat for me at the climax. Gordon goes face to face with the main villain and we find out the identity of said villain, which has been hidden for the entire book. For me, the identity wasn’t a surprise (which is fine because, although it wasn’t shocking it was fitting), but it just felt cold. The entire climax felt very… necessary. Each event was happening because it needed to happen to move the plot along, but none held the emotion that should have been its companion. Sure, I wanted to know if Gordon would save the world, but after that initial curiosity wore off, I fell into indifference. This was unexpected, because I have enjoyed Pennington’s work before. In her other novels, Pennington has been strong on character, but here the villain felt like a caricature. I didn’t care why the villain wanted to take over the world. In a novel like this (especially a young-adult novel which typically has lots of internal conflict and angst), I felt very little in a moment when my emotions should have been running high.
Overall, this book is good, but there’s nothing here to stand out from all the other young-adult, dystopian novels out there. Perhaps that’s my greatest problem with it: in a packed genre that requires novels to stand out to be noticed, Implant manages to feel like it’s the same as everything else.
Published on 12 January, 2016. Last updated on