ISBN #: 978-1463691875
Page Count: 264
Copyright: August 2011
(Taken from back cover)
Just before her eighteenth birthday Roberta Jennings finds out that she was born in an illegal experiment in genetic engineering. In the cover-up that follows, she gets sucked into a warped version of a witness protection program.
Roberta ends up working for a private intelligence firm, a job which immerses her in a world defined by the ambitions of the wealthy and powerful, and the technological pursuit of transcendence. She struggles to get her life back, but cannot escape the intrigues surrounding her, which culminate in the mystery around a Medieval sword she has been ordered to deliver to an anonymous client - while being pursued by a team of killers determined to stop her.
Surviving the Spike does a lot of things right. It sets up an interesting premise - with Roberta, a teenager, being taken from her family and everything she knows - because she was a genetic experiment. There are others who are taken, some that Roberta even known personally, like her best friend, Mariko. As a reader, I want to know: who are these people, what was done to them, and will they be reunited with their families?
The story kind of goes there, but kind of doesn't. I thought the main focus of the story would be discovering what happened to Roberta and her friends, but it goes in a different direction - especially toward the end. The first 2/3 of the book focus around Roberta, her neighbor Pyrce, and her quest to discover the others. There are hints of this Transcendence movement throughout the book, usually revealed in conversations Roberta overhears, but it's never really explained.
The last third of the book goes into the Transcendence thing - her friend Pyrce does it kind of out of the blue. It's like dying, except your consciousness lives on in a free world where it seems like you can go anywhere or do anything. Interestingly enough, this concept was also written about in another book I reviewed, The Future Perfect by Kirk Mustard. (He called it "Nophy" but it was essentially the same thing.)
I thought the story was kind of disjointed - I liked the parts about Roberta, her mysterious job, the assignments she was given, and her attempts to piece together her past. She's a great action hero and I was rooting for her to uncover the secrets of her past. But the political and religious side plots seemed unnecessary to me.
Overall I'd give this book about a 7/10. It was written well; maybe just a little bit more cohesiveness would have made this better for me.