Feat., Fiction, YA

Book Review: Spare and Found Parts – Sarah Maria Griffin

“You’re not finished yet are you?” Nell whispered.  “It’s okay.  Neither am I.”

We’ve had some beautiful, clear days over the past week or so.  The sea is starting to get a little colder as we head into winter but it’s still warm enough at the beach for a quick dip followed by a couple of glorious hours reading and drying off in the sun!

I used my day off work to finish reading Sarah Maria Griffin’s book Spare and Found Parts.  This was yet another of my random and completely unintentional library finds.  You know those books you find at the library when you were looking for something else?  That’s basically the story of my reading life.

I love dystopian future-themed books and I needed something a bit less intense than what I had been reading lately.  I also really didn’t feel like reading a book that everyone has read and raved about.  I hadn’t heard of this one, so it felt right for me.

The story is set in a future where some kind of plague has wiped out a significant portion of humanity and left the human population with severe deformities, usually in the form of missing limbs or other body parts.  Humans blame the plague on technology.  But it seems that the blame lies squarely with humanity – a bit like when humans decided to blot out the sun in The Matrix (I mean what in the actual fuck were they thinking was going to happen to humans after that smooth move?).

The main character – Nell Crane, is the daughter of the scientist who created the biomechanical limbs everyone uses.  Nell also has a clockwork heart that ticks, loudly, particularly if she’s feeling certain emotions.

All citizens once they reach a certain age are expected to present a contribution to society; sort of like an extreme Dragons’ Den where unsuccessful candidates are sent off to be labourers.  As the daughter of the most brilliant man in the city, Nell is expected to contribute something extraordinary – unfortunately she hasn’t got a bloody clue what that is going to be.  A lot of the novel is spent with Nell tormenting herself about what she’s going to create.

Nell decides to make a boy (surprise!).  You’re seeing that picture on the front cover correctly.  His head is in fact a tea kettle. Yup, they kiss.  And she is surprised that his face is cold.  So she cycles away until she has a heart attack. Yea…

There’s an awful lot of nothing much that happens in the first part of this novel.  Then all hell breaks loose and everything happens at once.  Nell is a bit bat-shit crazy at times.  She really doesn’t seem to care about other people and I wonder if she has just a touch of psychopathy in the mix.  I mean – he touched my arm so I burned him with a blow torch.  Really??!!

The Daft Punk dance scene was great!  I’m glad I read it just for that scene!  Imagine, technology has been almost completely wiped out for 100 years.  You manage to get a sound system, a video file, and a projector hooked up and working and what’s the first thing that blares out?? The frikken music video for One More Time!!

The premise of the book has potential.  But I found myself annoyed with the slow start.  I struggled to get through the first half of the book and I would have much preferred learning a bit more about the world.  The book tempts you with glimpses of the plague but I wanted more about that stuff!

I’d rate this a three on my personal scale of five (not Uber’s scale where a three gets you fired. A sane person’s scale where a three means it’s OK, but just OK).   Nell does some awfully strange shit that usually makes zero sense which throws me off sometimes.  But if the inner ramblings of someone who is a bit self-absorbed doesn’t put you off the first half of the book, the second half is better.

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