Corey J. White’s debut novel Repo Virtual blurs the lines between the real and virtual in an action-packed cyberpunk heist story.
The city of Neo Songdo is a Russian doll of realities — augmented and virtual spaces anchored in the weight of the real. The smart city is designed to be read by machine vision while people see only the augmented facade of the corporate ideal. At night the stars are obscured by an intergalactic virtual war being waged by millions of players, while on the streets below people are forced to beg, steal, and hustle to survive.
Enter Julius Dax, online repoman and real-life thief. He’s been hired for a special job: stealing an unknown object from a reclusive tech billionaire. But when he finds out he’s stolen the first sentient AI, his payday gets a lot more complicated.
Repo Virtual will be released on April 21, 2020. Preorder now!
I hate money, I despise it. It has twisted a beautiful and creative species and turned us into a ravenous, all-consuming virus.
Repo Virtual was a very interesting book that was very easy to read and become a part of. I enjoyed the world, once I figured out what was going on. It also has a very diverse cast of characters and the story is fun and interesting, too.
Repo Virtual is about JD, who works as a Repoman for a virtual online game. His brother asks JD to do a special Repo job, which is much more like stealing than normal. For some reason, JD actually does the job, because family is family. It started complicated, when it was just stealing a piece of software from one of the most powerful companies in the world. It got even more complicated when that software ended up being the first sentient AI.
Julius Dax (JD) is not the most likable main character. He doesn’t make the best decisions. He doesn’t have the best outlook on life. And in some respects, he just happens to know people in the right place at the right time that he ends up the lead character in this story. Yet he has a lot of traits that do make him interesting in his own right. Like the fact that he is disabled because his he took part in some riots years ago, and he never had the money to fix the problem. So he lives in pain and with a limp. This job he takes is supposed to give him enough money to fix the problem in his leg.
I did enjoy the world, once I figured it out. But it took me a lot longer to actually figure out what was going on than I would have liked. I don’t know if it is because I was distracted when I started reading this (I was on an hour long bus ride), or what. I just could not figure out what was virtual reality and was was reality. And then I learned that most of the book was augmented reality, which made things make a lot more sense. It also took me quite a while to figure out that this took place in Korea. In part because I’m not familiar with Songdo and didn’t know it was a real place. And that’s just some of the issues I had.
Repo Virtual takes place in a near future world where capitalism has run rampant and Corporations have near slave labor in the search of more of the all mighty money. People just accept that they are expected to work and work, and if something happens to them they are out of luck. There are even factions looking to stop capitalism, which is who JD ends up working with to steal what turns out to be an AI.
This was a bit of a slow start, because the book didn’t really start until about 30% in. It was interesting before then, but once it started it went off with a bang. You just know that a heist starting off in the first quarter of the book is going to end poorly, somehow. In this case, it is the dilemma of how do you hand over a sentient being to someone who doesn’t care about it and just wants to use it? There is also the dilemma that while JD is trying to find this out, both the people he stole the AI from and the people he was supposed to give it to now want him dead. And he can’t just handle this on his own.
Repo Virtual was fun the entire time with a lot of cute moments. Especially when the AI was trying to figure out if it was sentient and what that means. I enjoyed myself a lot.
ARC received from Tor Books on Edelweiss. This did not affect my review. Thank you!