Book - Escapology

Romeo Kennedy heads for the Slip as he reads the cyberpunk novel Escapology by Ren Warom...

With a cast of fantastically written characters, Ren Warom has created a world in which nothing is as it seems. A dangerous world painted with a neon brightness that stirs the visual senses.

Here is the synopsis to Escapology (Light spoilers ahead)

Shock Pao is not just any haunt - he’s the best. There isn’t a system that he can’t crack into, nothing he cant steal for the right price. Outside the virtual world of the Slip, though, he’s a Fail - no job, no affiliations to protect him from angry ex-customers. Of which he has quite a few. So when his ex brings Shock a job, he accepts, little realising that it will turn out to be his most impossible, illegal and insane assignment yet.

Amiga works for Twist Calhoun, one of the toughest crime lords in the Gung, as a cleaner - assassin. When Shock’s war comes to her, she doesn’t have a choice: It’s her job to bring him to Twist, dead or alive - or it’ll be her head in a bag in Twist’s vault.

The story takes place through the eyes of different points of view but in a way they all echo Shock’s story. The transgender Haunt whose life is not at all smooth, the boy lives life on the edge sometimes to his own detriment but he fights on, against all odds. He is not your archetypal hero of a cyberpunk novel the reader will get a sense that Shock could quite easily be someone they know even if that is a reflection of themselves.

One thing that really struck me with all the characters - and this might sound odd - they were loud. It was if when the POV changed to say, that of the assassin Amiga or Mim the gangster the characters almost shouted their arrival which really went well with the overall tone of the book.

I’ve mentioned this before but I tend to read a lot more fantasy than SF,  not because I don’t enjoy it, it’s more that my reading tend to veer in that direction more so. And I have only read a handful of cyberpunk stuff, things by William Gibson and Mark Kreighbaum/Katherine Kerr’s novel Palace. But after reading Escapology I would most definitely like to read more cyberpunk.

When I started Escapology I was hooked from the first page. Warom has weaved a web of weird and wonder. The slang and language used in Shock’s world, slang for recreational drugs, money and the net, all contributed to a bright, dangerous new frontier of possibilities and impossibilities. Especially within The Slip, where everyone’s avi is some sort of sea creature, a world explored and harvested by Shock and other haunts like some sort of digital fisherman.

Many times I would put the book down and wonder where on earth I had been, in a good way. The rules of reality in Warom’s world are constantly changing, anything goes and, when you read about the big heist that Shock executes, you will see exactly what I mean.

From start to finish each turn of the page leaves the reader not knowing where they are going and then it’s a digital train ride with no wheels and no brakes. And even when they have put the book down, can they say that they have really left the Slip?

I very much look forward to what happens in the sequel.

Escapology is out now via Titan Books and the author can be found on Twitter @RenWarom also on Youtube where she talks about mental health issues and books. Read the article she wrote for us on writing broken characters here.

Image - Titan Books

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