Saturday, July 13, 2013

{Review} Gene Pool: Unnatural Selection by R. A. Finlayson

File Size: 859 KB
Page Count: 529
Copyright: July 23, 2012
Publisher: Day Street Press; 1st Edition

Book Summary:
(Taken from Goodreads)

The first book in a four-part, science fiction series that explores a world where biological engineering becomes the master science influencing every aspect of society. A mystery and romance at its core, ambition, power, wealth and love drive the fast-paced story that revolves around a fascinating cast of characters.

For thousands of years human beings have dreamed of immortality, of reversing the aging process, of enhancing beauty and retaining the vigor and vitality of youth - forever. In the year 2059 this dream is at last within our grasp. But as biologic engineers finally achieve total control over the fundamental mechanics of life and the ability to change the course of human evolution, will this awesome power alter the meaning of love, the nature of relationships and society, and even the very definition of what it means to be human?

Such concerns are most decidedly not on the mind of Amade Bertrand, a young, investigative journalist with the New York Times. Amade is worried that her career is stalling out after a meteoric - and some would say undeserved - rise to the top of her profession. As Amade ponders her next career move, an anonymous and cryptic tip lands in her inbox about GeneTech, the largest and most powerful of the new generation of bioengineering companies.

Amade's quest to uncover the meaning of this mysterious message leads her to Whitfield Gray, a senior GeneTech executive with a dark secret that if exposed could destroy the company and threaten the biotech revolution. Drawn to the powerful and mysterious Whitfield, Amade must decide between a burgeoning love for the brash, young executive and her career ambition as she uncovers a web of intrigue that leads from the GeneTech board room to the White House and beyond.

Kathy's Review:

One thing right off the bat with this book: it is LONG. That's strike one. Usually if a book is this long, it's like some kind of epic Lord of the Rings thing. Sure, Unnatural Selection has multiple storylines and characters that intertwine, but honestly? It becomes quite tedious to try and keep track of everything that is going on. I'd been reading this for two weeks and only reached 50%, while my long pile of books to be reviewed languished. Oy.

And it's a four part series!!! This is just book one! Double oy!

There are definitely some interesting concepts in the book; mainly that humankind could manipulate genetics to create a species of living creatures meant to perform work traditionally done by laborers, essentially putting those people out of jobs. Genetics could also be used to create weapons - we see some of these being used in the book, notably a bee that stings its victim, rendering them unconscious for a length of time.

Whitfield, one of the main "bad guys" in the book, has been imbued with the ability to control people's minds. Like a Jedi mind trick the the Nth degree. This is scary. He's basically untouchable and uses his mind magic to control the media, enemies and even lovers.

There's also a moral issue at play here: if you create a living being using genetics, is it morally ok to destroy them when they have completed serving their purpose? The Xenomats are terminated when the next upgrade becomes available. Is that murder, or it is simply replacing a "thing" with the newest version?

A lot of things to think about in this book. However, its length and all of the competing storylines really hindered me from fully engaging. For those whose tastes run more toward sci-fi, or if the concept of genetic engineering piques your interest, give this one a whirl.

*An ebook was provided by the author in exchange for an honest review.

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