Synthetica (Synthetica #1)
Release Date: 04/01/15
Summary from Goodreads:
This city is falling.
Seventeen-year-old Anais Finch lives in a world where everyone is born beautiful, where every dream is a possibility - and where their every move and every piece of personal information is recorded by an ID picochip inserted behind their right ear. When technology giant, Civitas, finally announces the launch of their highly anticipated Scholarly Learning Programs, which allow people to download and learn any subject instantly, Anais can hardly wait.
But not everyone is pleased with society's progress, and not everyone wants to fit in. When Anais witnesses a brutal murder on an innocent citizen and is implicated in the crime, she becomes determined to uncover the truth, especially when others like it begin to occur all over the city. But it may already be too late for Anais to stop the man who calls himself 'the Hacker' before he commits his most appalling crime yet...
The first time Anais saw a man being murdered, she was just seventeen.
She was already acquainted with death – having witnessed the traditional burning of both sets of grandparents some years earlier, she knew what was what. But she'd never seen someone actually die. She'd never seen someone murder a man in cold blood. It was not to be the last.
It was a cold, clear day, which marked the beginning of autumn in the Imperial City. The trees were a riot of colour, their crisp leaves crunching underfoot or floating dreamily on the still warm breeze. Anais was safe at home. She opened up the Food Dispensation Unit to find breakfast, predictably, waiting for her.
“Good morning, Anais. Your biometrics indicate that you are lacking in protein today. Please find your suggested breakfast option below,” the cool female voice that inhabited the FDU intoned. Anais looked at the plate of diced avocado and bobbly cottage cheese, sprinkled with quinoa, in disgust and almost threw up.
“System override,” she said hastily. “Requesting bacon and eggs.”
The FDU was quiet for a moment, in what Anais imagined to be a sullen silence.
“This course is not recommended,” the voice said. “Bacon and eggs has been requested three times in the last seven days. Variation at meal times is the best option in getting the recommended amount of vitamins and minerals per day.” Was it Anais' imagination, or was there a hint of reproach in the machine's voice?
“Then stop making me stupid meals,” Anais muttered. A little louder she said, “System override.”
The FDU remained silent. It's definitely taking longer to prepare food Anais thought. Could machines have feelings, or was she simply being paranoid? After a few seconds, the offending plate slid out of view, and a minute later a new one rose up, complete with three steaming rashers of bacon and two fried eggs.
“Stingy,” Anais said as she inspected the plate. “You definitely gave me four rashers the other day.”
The FDU didn't reply, so Anais shut the door with her elbow and turned away to place her breakfast on the table. She sat down and began to tuck in, although she couldn't help feeling that the bacon wasn't quite as crispy as usual, and the yolk in her eggs was only just runny – clearly, she'd caused offence one too many times.With a sigh of satisfaction, she pushed her empty plate away and touched a spot on the glass table in front of her. The embedded screen flickered into life, the latest news and entertainment stories popping up to greet her. She scrolled through the different windows, occasionally skim-reading a headline that looked interesting. One pop-up informed her that black and white stripes were back in season; while an advertisement for prenatal conditioning flashed repeatedly (Let your baby shine; neon DNA now half price! Only 2,000 CRD for a limited time only!). She touched the glass, beginning to turn off all the pointless notifications, when one of them caught her eye, hidden behind a slew of advertisements and celebrity gossip feeds. Her heart leapt. She maximised the window and began to read eagerly.
About the Author
So what qualifies me to be a writer? Well, ever since an early age I've been more interested in the worlds in my head, than the real one - so I thought it was finally time to do something about it. I went to uni, got a degree in publishing, worked in an office for a while, decided I hated it, went to China, came back...and now I'm a teaching assistant by day and a YA writer by night. Phew! It's been quite a journey, but I wouldn't change it for the world.