Blame by Simon Mayo
Illustrated by: N/A
Published: July 7th 2016, Penguin Random House
Length: 472 pages
Narrated By: N/A
Genre: Contemporary, Thriller, Dystopia, Science Fiction, Young Adult
Where Did I Get It? I bought a copy at YALC after listening to Simon Mayo on a panel. (And I got it signed afterwards.)
Blurb: Heritage crime [noun] : A previously undetected crime committed by your parents or grandparents for which you are held responsible.
Ant and her brother, Mattie, are locked up in Spike, a new family prison.
Society demands they do time for the unpunished heritage crimes of their parents.
Tension is simmering inside the jail.
When the tension breaks and a riot begins, Ant realises they’ve got one chance to break out.
It’s time for Ant to show the world that they’re NOT TO BLAME.
The girl with the pudding-bowl haircut crawled out of her bedroom, edging her way to the banisters.
My Review: I first heard about this book when Simon Mayo was interviewed about it on Radio Two – I sat in the supermarket car park to listen to the end because the idea caught my attention and I wanted to know more about it. Then I went to YALC and Simon Mayo was on one of the panels and by the end of the session I knew I needed to buy myself a copy then and there.
I am very glad I did.
Blame is based round a quite frankly terrifyingly believable not-to-distant-future idea where everything is economically starting to fall apart around the world and people start wanting someone to blame to make themselves feel better. So they do, only as well as imprisoning criminals, they have also started imprisoning their families on the grounds that all crimes should be punished and living off the proceeds of your family member’s felony is as bad as committing the crime itself. Heritage crime is an alarmingly convincing thing.
The main character, Ant, is incarcerated with her brother and their foster parents and she is a brilliant, feisty lead with a bad temper and a lot of attitude. She gets herself into lots of trouble but usually only by trying to do the right thing and not take the unjust system lying down. She fiercely loves her family and friends and it is this passion that carries her through the book.
Blame is dark and gritty and moves at a fast pace throughout but without being exhausting. I didn’t want to put it down at all, desperate to know what happened next every time I had to stop. The cast of characters was varied and although not all of them were likeable, they were all relatable and realistic.
I found Blame quite disturbing and scary, purely because of how convincing it was – the uneasy state of things in Europe at the moment and the uncertainty of the future lending an alarming amount of believability to the concept. Finger-pointing, blame and turning a blind eye to things people know are wrong if it means they can get on with their lives have featured heavily in recent news and that is pretty much the way Heritage Crime becomes a thing in Blame. It certainly left me thinking. And uneasy.
I seriously recommend picking up a copy of Blame if you spot it – it is a great read and not really like anything I have read before. Also, the cover is awesome.
My Rating: 5/5*