Trigger Warning: Suicide, Attempted Rape, Murder.
In a world where every word and gesture is copyrighted, patented or trademarked, one girl elects to remain silent rather than pay to speak, and her defiant and unexpected silence threatens to unravel the very fabric of society.
Speth Jime is anxious to deliver her Last Day speech and celebrate her transition into adulthood. The moment she turns fifteen, Speth must pay for every word she speaks (“Sorry” is a flat ten dollars and a legal admission of guilt), for every nod ($0.99/sec), for every scream ($0.99/sec) and even every gesture of affection. She’s been raised to know the consequences of falling into debt, and can’t begin to imagine the pain of having her eyes shocked for speaking words that she’s unable to afford.
But when Speth’s friend Beecher commits suicide rather than work off his family’s crippling debt, she can’t express her shock and dismay without breaking her Last Day contract and sending her family into Collection. Backed into a corner, Speth finds a loophole: rather than read her speech – rather than say anything at all – she closes her mouth and vows never to speak again. Speth’s unexpected defiance of tradition sparks a media frenzy, inspiring others to follow in her footsteps, and threatens to destroy her, her family and the entire city around them.
This book had me interested. I mean its entire plot is basically a world where every word or action you use, you are charged for. Imagine saying I love you to your spouse or kids and you are charged for that. Your basic right to speak freely is gone and if you have done something to break that copyright or trademark, you are takin into debt collectors. You are turned into a slave and can possibly never be free. It is truly awful to even imagine.
Your MC is Speth, yes the name is awful, but it is all her parents could afford. Every word, action, name, or trademark is owned by a company. Speth is soon turning 15 and will have her “Last Day”. Your last day is where you are given sponsors and you get a cuff put on your wrist, to track you and every word you say. Speth is on her way to her party when breecher, a boy who likes her comes up to her and kisses her. He then walks to the edge of the bridge and jumps. Speth is left watching and wonders if this world is really what it should be. Everyone is looking to her and ready to listen to her speech. She slowly does a zipper across her lips and is silent from that moment on, vowing to never talk again.
For the most part, I did enjoy this book. I have never read a book like it and it was interesting to think about. I could not imagine being charged for every word I spoke or even being charged to kiss someone. There were a few parts that were frantically weird or strange, but it’s also a different world so I wouldn’t expect to feel normal reading it.
One thing that had me kinda of cringed is the fact they printed their food. In this world real food is apparently a luxury. You had printed sheets of what they called wheatlock. All I can think of is the malnutrition and chemicals from the ink jets that printed the food. The printers also don’t work if you are not connected to the wifi. So imagine a power outage, you can eat anything unless it comes back on. You would essentially starve to death.
Overall the writing was well done and the plot had me interested. Unfortunately, there were at times moments I wanted to DNF it or just stop reading. Certain spots felt like they dragged on, some weren’t needed at all. I did enjoy the book and the premise of it. Gregory did a good job writing, I’m just not a big fan of it. I think it was way more hyped than it should have been and I was expecting more from it.