Equal Part 1: The Confrontation by W.J. Costello
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Equality taken to the extreme.
Equal Part I opens with Mors, an old man at 49 years on the eve of his last day alive. He watches the other guests, people like him whose time is up, and thinks back on his life. The time is up so soon, and now, just as he and the others have gained some measure of understanding and competence, now, just as they finally find their grooves in life, life is over for them, for at midnight they turn 50. And at 50, all citizens of Equal are euthanized, cremated and distributed to the farmers to fertilize the crops for the coming year.
This is our introduction to a chilling dystopian future where equality is valued above all things. Natural reproduction, too prone to variance, has been replaced by science. No longer able to produce offspring, each new generation is designed and produced by scientists, all born on the very day the generation turning 50 is recycled. People who are born with inconsistencies are given equalizer devices which either enhance or inhibit their unique attributes to bring them in line with everyone else.
But the story isn't about Mors, it's about a man named Janus, a Sheriff, who is tasked with retrieving an elusive runner named Diana. With attributes that are too much for the equalizer device to handle, she has been named a lawbreaker and must be captured and destroyed before her very existence can threaten the balance of Equal's society.
I found this to be a captivating read. The society and mindset of Equal are frightening. The story is well-written and well-paced. Details and nuances are used effectively to convey just how bad Equal truly is. The story features sexual and violent content that pushes it into the adult category, though both are used effectively to build the story, the characters, and the world. There is nothing frivolous in this book. All has a purpose.
Overall, I really liked Equal Part I, The Confrontation, and I would recommend it to those who like adult dystopian thrillers. It reminds me of Logan's Run (the movie). Keep in mind that this is not a standalone book. This is Part I of a single novel, and as such does not include a resolution. That is reserved for Part III.
I picked up Equal Parts I, II and III during a free promotion on Amazon.
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