Simon Royle; Kindle Edition, Published December 2, 2010 by I & I Press
In the wake of Arbitrator Jonah Oliver’s interrogation of Jibril Muraz, a prisoner of UNPOL, his secure life disintegrates into one of lies, corruption, conspiracy and murder due to what he learns.
Jonah is thrown into a race against the clock to stop a plot designed to eliminate two-thirds of the population. The odds are stacked against him. He soon finds his past is not what he thought it was, those closest to him cannot be trusted, and what he’s learned could get him, or worse, his loved ones, killed.
On 15 March 2110, 6.3 billion people will die at the hand of one man.
A man with a twisted vision, to make humans a better, more intelligent race.
From a world where personal privacy has been forsaken comes a tale of conspiracy, love and murder – and the bond shared by brothers.
– Goodreads on Tag
It has taken me longer then usual to read this awesome book; I’m not sure why. There was something about it that made me want to linger on the chapters instead if read through them. It’s a sensation I’ve had with some books before, and I’m not sure what to attribute it to. Perhaps I enjoy reading so much that my subconscious pushes me to linger, to prolong that enjoyment state. What I am sure is that I didn’t feel an inner pressure to get through it, to find out what’s going to happen in the end, I just trusted Simon Royle‘s beautiful writing to take me there. I didn’t feel that impending doom sensation that sometimes stimulates me to rush through the tunnel and reach the final light.
Tag may very well be a classic of the genre. It has it all; it’s very well written, quite well paced and thought up. The plot has something of a classic sci-fi note, the technologically advanced race, the need to destroy that ultimately manifests itself and needs to be somehow dealt with.
I especially liked the way the writing has been done. Though building an advanced, techy universe, it puts no scientific pressure on you, it doesn’t smother you one bit with over-technological aspects that turn into some background noise. However virtual the world is, it feels quite palpable to you as you’re reading, it feels absolutely natural, like you know it as well as the palm of your hand.
I loved the healthy and well thought humor Simon Royle‘s writing possesses, it makes for a very diaphanous and completely pleasurable read. So much so it is a pleasure to just read his writing, that I wouldn’t have minded reading and reading, on and on.
The characters are an interesting point of the book; I will confess to have a soft spot for Jonah, his good natured, funny, slightly awkward and sort of nerdy nature make him irresistible. For some reason, I found the female characters less easy to like, and other male characters as well. There was a clear spotlight on Jonah, and I did like Gabriel as well, though I would have liked to see more of him.
The plot touches on many interesting topics, political intrigue, the issue of privacy, nudity – well, this one not so much, though Jonah does find himself getting naked a lot throughout the story
It weaves a great story, filled with mystery, suspense, intrigue as I’ve said, dramatic twists and edge-of-your-seat moments.
I couldn’t have asked for more, on many accounts. The story is gripping, and it’s very well executed. Perhaps it would have helped to build more tension if the writing would have had less narrative and more dialogue, as the narrative generally does tend to slightly even out the tension in the plot whereas more dialogue builds more of a dynamic feel, but this is up to personal taste of course.
Overall, I find this to be a great achievement, and I am looking forward to reading the next books in the series. One evil thing about it is that it ends with a teaser for book two, well thought strategy.
I only have one small issue with it, and it is that in the story somewhere Sir Thomas the insufferable explains how in the past he’s been pardoned for eradicating Bucharest. To this, I protest, bad Simon Royle, bad bad Simon Royle, to have that bastard attack my country of all the places in the world!
Jokes aside, sci-fi buffs, if you haven’t already read Tag, you really really need to, you’ll love it to bits!
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