Friday Review: Floor 21 by Jason Luthor

FLOOR 21FLOOR 21 by Jason Luthor
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Jackie is seventeen, living in the Tower with the remnants of humanity. No one knows why they were forced to live here or what went on Before. The humans live on the top floors of the Tower, and the lower floors are infected by the Creep, which is a nasty infestation that can cause serious hallucinations and even kill if you get too close to it. Jackie is the daughter of two scientists, and she possesses both her parents’ intelligence and curiosity. She is not content with accepting what the Authority tells everyone about their lives, and sets out to find some answers. And that gets her into trouble on more than one level.

This is an engaging and very readable story. I devoured it in two days. Jackie is a very well-drawn protagonist: smart, funny, and very much the rebellious teenager. She doesn’t take grief from anyone, and is not one to simply accept without proof. Secondary characters are also believable and more than just background to Jackie’s voice.

The Tower itself is quite a complex and intriguing world, for all that it is a limited space. The differences in the class structure, the creepiness (sorry, but that’s the only word for it) of the Creep, and the interweaving of politics and religion with the science make for a very engaging setting. It’s a well-thought out setting with many layers.

The story is told in first person, mainly by Jackie, who records her thoughts and questions, and documents her explorations on a voice recorder. There is a section later of recordings by another character, but it fits well in the story and doesn’t shift you out of context. I won’t say more so as not to spoil the plot for anyone.

This is a really good story, with a nice, fast moving plot, very real characters, and a dystopian setting that is dark and sometimes quite scary. Definitely recommended.

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Six of One: A Collection of Short Fantasy by M.A. Kropp is a set of short fantasy stories. Meet wizards, imps, gangster angels, and frogs in this group of varied tales of magic and mischief. Escape from the everyday into worlds of fantasy with Six of One: A Collection of Short Fantasy.

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