Dystopian novels seem to be the new “it” genre in the book world. It seems like everywhere I look it’s either zombies or the end of the world…or both. So, for me to enjoy a book like this it has to have something different that will catch my attention. It has to be fast paced with likeable characters and a story line that leaves me wanting more. By the end of Simulation, I was hoping that it was going to be the first book in a long series. I loved the characters, who were easy to like or hate, whichever the case may be. The writing was really good and there were a lot of twists to the story that I really wasn’t expecting, the big one being the simulation itself.
I didn’t start out thinking I was going to end up liking this book. The first few pages were about the introduction of Ilia and Eleeza as they went on a mission to get some colours from the Givers and it piqued my interest. I knew immediately that Ilia was my kind of girl and Eleeza was definitely not someone I would ever want to spend any time befriending. However, I few pages in I started to find the story dragging a bit. This could just be my problem. I read a whole lot of books and don’t have a lot of patience if a story doesn’t keep me entertained. I also know that an author has to set the story up. Having read previous books written by M. Black, I knew this was her style and things would pick up soon. I wasn’t wrong.
I’ll start with the fantastically creative world that M. Black has set this story in. As a reader, I’ve never thought about how intricate the details of creating a new world must be, right down to how the Outsiders clean their teeth and freshen their breath with sharp sticks and cloves. The different clans that are visited throughout the book are fascinating. Their stories about how they came to be and how they survive after Earth’s devastation is detailed and thoughtful. Even the description of how the Earth came to be the way it is presently in the book was, to be honest, downright scary because everything that caused the problems are what is happening right now in our world, such as overpopulation, pollution, acid rain, animal extinction, etc. A lot of the dystopian books aren’t very believable but most things in Simulation seemed like things that could be a part of our future if we aren’t more careful.
The emotions in the book were so raw at times that I felt myself feeling what the characters felt as they experienced them. The anger the Outsiders felt towards the residents of the citigogs was so like the anger that many from war torn countries feel towards Westerners and that made it all the more believable. When Panch lost his daughter in the drone attack and ilia realized that her father caused it, the pain she felt almost brought tears to my eyes. M. Black has the ability to bring these emotions off the page and into the hearts of her readers. She does this subtly and never over does the hand-wringing and heart-wrenching. A lot of the book is like this, where she made me feel certain emotions without telling me that is how I should be feeling. This is the sign of a great writer, in my opinion, who writes elegantly and neatly, all while entertaining the reader.
Overall, Simulation is a great book and very entertaining to read. The characters are multi-dimensional and well written. As I said before, the world M. Black has created is beyond fantastic. I just wish this were the start of a long series.