Saturday 12 October 2019

BLOG TOUR: Nightmare Scenario - Hazel Clarke

Eighteen-year-old Gracie Thrace has a secret. 

Four months ago she started to hear voices that force her to carry out frightening scenarios. With her father abroad and her relationship with her high-powered mother strained, Gracie has no one to turn to for solace. 

When a new voice called Kai materialises, Gracie finds herself attached to his kindness. Kai offers the support Gracie craves, but how can she possibly let herself fall for someone who isn't real? 

Set in 2047 London, Nightmare Scenario is a complex and touching love story that explores the stigma around mental illness and offers a daunting prediction of the future where technology infiltrates every part of society.

What did I think?

Set in a future where I'll be 73 years old, if I'm still alive, Nightmare Scenario is something a little outside my comfort zone and I chose to read it to support Mental Health Awareness Week.  I have been flirting with the dystopian and fantasy genres recently and now having read Nightmare Scenario, I'm fully committed to exploring more from these genres as I absolutely loved it.  Yay!  More books to add to my TBR!

I loved the character of 18 year old Gracie Thrace, a young woman just starting university and living in a day and age where android housemaids are commonplace in many households.  Gracie doesn't have much of a family life; her father is very absent, as he fights terrorism abroad, and her mother is a prominent figure in the most successful company in the world, IrukaTech.  IrukaTech make and control the Hourglasses that are permanently installed on wrists of every citizen.  Hourglasses are multi-functional devices like a mobile phone; they are a flashlight, a phone and a tracking device.  Whereas we can choose who can track us on our mobile phones, the police and IrukaTech can track every single person in 2047 and that's not the only level of control they are applying.  

A mind altering drug called Hydrobliss is being tested and has secretly been given to four human test subjects.  The drug causes schizophrenia and voices in your head that create challenges called nightmare scenarios that must be completed every single night at sunset.  The Hydrobliss subjects are unaware that this is an IrukaTech experiment so you never know who might be watching and taking notes.

Gracie hears three voices in her head: Psyche, Eros and Terry (I'm not sure where Terry comes from but Psyche and Eros are from Greek mythology).  I love this homage to Greek mythology where Psyche had to complete challenges to win back her husband, Eros (aka Cupid in classical mythology).  The introduction of a fourth voice throws Gracie into turmoil as she falls in love with Kai, a voice who seems to be completely on her side unlike the mischievous and sadistic other three.  How can you have feelings for a voice in your head?  Hold that thought, as I have a feeling it will come back into play in the next instalment of the Scenario Series.

Wow!  Just WOW!  I abso-blooming-lutely loved this book!  Hazel Clarke takes the reader on quite a scary ride in her inventive, imaginative, thought provoking and scarily realistic debut.  A cross between The Hunger Games and 1984, Nightmare Scenario is set to be an absolute classic.  It is such a stunning, visionary book and I am totally gobsmacked that Hazel Clarke wrote this when she was 19 years old.  I'm a little torn between wanting to find out what happens next and leaving it at its pretty perfect ending, but who am I kidding?  I will definitely be first in the queue for Book 2.  A very highly recommended read, even if it's not a book you would usually pick up.

I chose to read an ARC and this is my honest and unbiased opinion.

My rating:

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