Book Reviews

Dystopia’s Edge

I thought I put my hitman days behind me. Turns out that couldn’t be further from the truth. I’m Benjamin Edge, mercenary for hire. Running guns, carrying out hits, I’ve done it all. When you grow up as a child soldier fighting for one city-state against another in the crumbling ruins of a fallen civilization, killing becomes second nature. This newest job seems a breeze, though. Smuggling lab equipment from San Francisco to New Tijuana means running a harsh gauntlet, but it’s nothing I can’t handle. A few hired guns—even a reformed drug addict who let me down in the past—should be enough to blaze a trail through the Badlands. Or at least I thought it was. Until a corpse came back from the dead. Sergeant Reaver, a bio-engineered super soldier I killed a decade ago, is somehow still breathing. Not only that, but he’s brought all the crime syndicates in Los Angeles under his banner. Now that he knows I’m on his turf, it’s me against an army all the way to New Tijuana. Good thing I packed plenty of ammo.

Hot off the heels of eleven books I reviewed in a row that are part of a series, it is a nice change of pace to read something that isn’t; that stands alone. This isn’t to say that Dystopia’s Edge can’t spin off into sequels—quite the contrary, if this is author Ian Price’s plan, I will be a very happy man indeed. Because if I could sum up my thoughts about Dystopia’s Edge in one word (and I won’t, I’ll bore you with seven or so hundred more of them), it is this: fun.

Dystopia’s Edge is set roughly one hundred years in the future, and stars Benjamin Edge and his motley crew, as they transport a mysterious delivery across America. Through and through, this is an action story, and one that moves at such a breakneck pace that the plot mightn’t be necessary. But Price has pieced together a great plot.

Throughout its 488 pages in paperback and (estimated 597 swipes on Kindle), Dystopia’s Edge is not a short novel. As the plot moves along quickly and the reader is treated to an adventure that feels like a deliciously B-grade action movie, on first glance this length looks like too long. It isn’t. This length works brilliantly, providing enough space for the plot to unfold with plenty of twists and turns, space for the characters to breathe, and allow for some brilliant first person narration. At no point does it feel like it’s filling space, or adding words to increase its word count.

If you read the blurb and watch the trailer (conveniently included above; you can thank me later), you can get a feel for the book. While I’d venture it’s not for everybody (but really, what book is?), if you enjoy action set pieces, light science fiction, and books that don’t take themselves too seriously, I would definitely say it’s for you. The highlight here is the tone Price has struck for this story. While not a barrel of straight comedy, it provides plenty of laughs throughout as it takes the excess you find in action and runs with it, tongue firmly planted in cheek.

As I found myself comfortable with the tone, Dystopia’s Edge soon introduced me to Corvyn Wire, a drug addict responsible for a previous mission that went horribly wrong for protagonist Benjamin Edge (including plenty of death), turned born again Christian (Presbyterian, to be precise). Where this could so easily fall into cliche, or making a joke of the character’s beliefs, instead, it introduces some real heart to the book. Heart that carries through the story until the very end.

The characters in Dystopia’s Edge all work brilliantly, from the two mentioned above, to driver Rita, default tech support, Seerlexa, and the man behind the operation, the mysterious Mr. Rollins. Each of these characters is completely distinct from one another, and while if you’re a fan of action, you would be well aware of the archetypes these characters fill, they do not fall into cliche. They are three dimensional, fun, and all have some great quirks that will have you laughing.

The author’s pose is handled brilliantly throughout. It is written in the first person, from the protagonist’s perspective, in a conversational manner that kept me entertained throughout. While outlining the events of the story, this also provides plenty of witticisms, and uses various pop culture references—either as part of the story, or as part of anecdotes—throughout. The way these were used (and this also extends to the characters’ dialogue) gave me a distinct Quentin Tarantino vibe. Action is obviously a major aspect of the story, and it is violent, but doesn’t linger on this unnecessarily.

The writing itself is crafted well, using its words judiciously. There were a few moments throughout where I noticed an extra word or two that brought a sentence down: I bring this up not to draw it as a negative; the fact these instances stood out so much is a testament to just how tightly Price has written the book. There were a few typos peppered out as well, and while another proofreading may have picked these up, they are few and far between.

If you’re a fan of action, you really cannot go wrong here. Dystopia’s Edge is a brilliant action story, with a solid plot that twists and turns, builds an interesting world, and surprises on a few occasions. That it also throws in a great sense of humour, some brilliantly crafted characters and a surprising amount of heart, makes it a winner. I thoroughly enjoyed my every moment with it.

Favourite Passage

A programmer named Seerlexa was just waking up to greet the day.

Seerlexa didn’t really think of herself as a human anymore. She considered her self-identity to be more in line with that of an organics-based computer.

It wasn’t an inaccurate way to consider herself. Even though she’d been born a normal little girl to a set of perfectly average parents, she never really socialized properly with the other children. It was hard for her to make friends.

Dystopia’s Edge, Chapter 17

Dystopia’s Edge was provided to the author for the purpose of an honest review.

Dystopia’s Edge is available in paperback and on Kindle, exclusive to Amazon.

You can follow Ian Price online, via:

Note: I do not post scores on reviews on this website, but do post them on my Amazon and Goodreads reviews:

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Dystopia’s Edge

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