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Blog Tour Review - Service Model by Adrian Tchaikovsky

Blog Tour Review - Service Model by Adrian Tchaikovsky To fix the world they first must break it further. Humanity is a dying breed, utterly reliant on artificial labor and service. When a domesticated robot gets a nasty little idea downloaded into their core programming, they murder their owner. The robot then discovers they can also do something else they never did before: run away. After fleeing the household, they enter a wider world they never knew existed, where the age-old hierarchy of humans at the top is disintegrating, and a robot ecosystem devoted to human wellbeing is finding a new purpose. There is so much to love in Service Model, but one of the things I most love about it is the peculiar blend of charming innocence and insightful cynicism. Uncharles the domestic robot is such a simple soul (though he would state that he has no soul and this is an inaccurate description). He approaches the end of the world with optimism and hope, or whatever equivalent to these emotions h

Review - Too Dark To See by Chloë Heuch

 Review - Too Dark To See by Chloë Heuch

After the death of her mother, 16-year-old Kay is on a mission to self-destruct. Unhappy at home and school, she only finds peace with the semi-wild ponies on the moors. She meets Sion up there, also looking to escape. They are drawn into a secret, intense love, but they cannot hide from their lives for long. An evocative, debut YA novel about a grieving teenage girl who finds hope in a wild landscape.

Too Dark to See is a very curious novel. I wasn't really sure what to expect from it, and I'm not really sure what I found either. 

It's a novel about grief, about teenage life and how we cope with it. Kay has lost her mother and is struggling. From the start we see her using alcohol and casual sex as coping mechanisms for her grief. Then she has to deal with a house move, to the edge of a remote moor. She meets a new friend, who becomes more than just a friend, and has his own troubles. She faces adversity, fear, pushes her friends away, before finding some kind of peace.

It's a good novel. It deals with grief sensitively. There's more sex in it than I'm used to seeing in YA, but that too is generally handled quite sensitively. I liked the wildlife elements in it too, as Sion introduces her to the natural world all around her. 

It's not great though. I just felt like there was something lacking. I don't think it's anything the novel does wrong, so to speak, more that it just doesn't go far enough, it feels restrained and a little safe. 

As we see Kay struggling with her life, these big issues that threaten to tear everything down, they just...don't. There are very few repercussions she faces for any of her behaviour. She loses her virginity while drunk at a party, but it's fine. Slightly awkward seeing the boy at school the next week, but no big deal. She indulges in underage drinking, and it's fine. She skips school with such regularity that she's doubting whether she can even take her exams, but nothing ever comes of it. She trespasses on the land of the angry farmer with his shotgun and, although he chases her off, it never seems to stop her and there are no lasting consequences until the sudden and dramatic climax of the novel. It just all feels a little safe, like we're expected to believe that Kay's life is falling down around her but we're actually shown very little out of the ordinary for a typical teenager. 

Too Dark To See handles its themes sensitively, but does little to push things.


Too Dark To See by Chloë Heuch is out now, published by Firefly Press.
I was given a review copy via Netgalley in return for an honest review.


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