All Against All

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All Against All

Last Free Dates: 30th Nov 18 to 4th Dec 18
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...Suspense and thriller fans will love this, but it might also be good for dystopian fiction readers and people following speculative fiction due to the low-key sci-fi elements. One thing I don’t get is the cover though…...

This is not an original premise: a group of people are promised funds that will go to the last survivor, and subsequently kill each other over it. What makes it original is the dystopian world it is set in, the characters, and the plots around the lottery not to mention the last survivors’ creative use of their funds. The premise did remind me of the original Clue videogame: the last surviving member gets the money. This immediately starts them murdering each other. Given that someone actually refers to risk/reward, rather than “it only takes one psycho” I can only think these people are very genre-blind, which they are. And it costs them.

A few things stand out. It has a lovely rebuttal of the Nietzsche quote “That which does not kill you…” The world, run by thirteen trillionaire oligarchs, is a total mess. With constant monitoring, drugs freely available, and the police and media under total corporate control, anyone familiar with SLA Industries or Blade Runner will find this disturbingly familiar (or perhaps the world of Alfred Bester’s Extro). The inserted news releases give background and help flesh out the world, developing backgrounds for characters that you meet only later on.

The plot twists are unpredictable, and disturbing, but it does quickly become a game for the reader of simply counting who will die next. The characterisation is good, but occasionally erratic. People change motive simply because the money is mentioned, but the problem is that the funds have been on the table since day one, so it seems a bit odd they’d suddenly change ethics they were holding onto throughout because of it. Alice’s personality and background seem to shift throughout, with a few nasty shocks, but they are consistent enough for the story to work.

The ending, if not a surprise in these stories, has a nice twist. The story doesn’t end when the lottery does, and that’s all I will say.

Writing and formatting? I have no complaints. I read it end to end in one sitting, and enjoyed most of it.

Suspense and thriller fans will love this, but it might also be good for dystopian fiction readers and people following speculative fiction due to the low-key sci-fi elements.

One thing I don’t get is the cover though…a chimpanzee holding a gun doesn’t appear in the story and it isn’t particularly metaphorical either.

P.S. As a pedant’s aside, from one of the chapters, cash dumped on the doorstep is not tax-free. It is undeclared income, which the person has to declare and play taxes on themselves. This means these people have lied once already. Would you trust them to give you the hundred million?

Rating: 4
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