Review: Implant by J. Grace Pennington

Implant by J. Grace Pennington
JD's rating: 4 of 5 bookmarks

Implant is a gripping science fiction tale set in the not-too-distant future. It follows the story of a young man named Gordon Harding as he's suddenly thrust into a future world that he doesn't understand. Gordon is a very average guy, the typical antihero, but the story doesn't come across as clich├ęd. Gordon is likable and relatable. Secondary characters, like Neil and Doc, are also well-developed.

The setting in the opening chapters was a little confusing to me at first. The world is so similar to current day, but with a few obvious things that are "off" just enough as to be foreign that I had difficulty placing where in time we were. The year is never explicitly stated and the reader has to do some math with a little hint that is easily missed. There are a couple more tidbits that are given in the second half of the book that finally makes things clearer when you figure it out, but I do wish Pennington would have provided a few more hints earlier in the story to help put things in context. Aside from that slight annoyance, the story world is vivid and lifelike.

The plot progresses at the perfect clip; quick enough to keep one's attention, but not so fast that you feel like you're in a whirlwind and can't keep up. The whole story seems to have been well thought out and even the tertiary characters feel very intentional. A few of the elements were a tad predictable and I had figured out how a few things were going to turn out. Even so, it was not a disappointment when I reached the last pages and found out I was correct. And there were still enough surprises along the way to keep me interested and turning the pages.

I loved Pennington's writing style. The way she tells a story is so engrossing that I was thoroughly enthralled. There is a realness to the way she puts a character's thoughts on the page that just rings true. This is only the second book that I've read by her, but her prose is exceptional. Some of the best I've read by a self-published/indie author.

The only content advisory for this book is that there are some very explicit descriptions of violence and death that some may find bothersome. Overall, Implant is a well-written sci-fi story with great characters and a compelling plot that was a pleasure to read. I thoroughly enjoyed it and will probably read it again at some point.

J.D. Sutter is the producer and host of the Bookworm Banquet podcast and editor of the blog. He is the founder of Porchlight Family Media.

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J.D. Sutter

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